|President Buhari presenting the 2016 Budget|
The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday received the final report on the 2016 appropriation bill (budget) and thereafter held the third reading on the bill before it was subsequently passed.
Chairman of the senate appropriation committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, while presenting the budget report noted that the process involved a lot of negotiations.
“Nigerians do not understand all the back and forth that we did; some people even said we were politicizing it,” Goje said.
The senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki who presided over the session as chairman of the committee of the whole, thereafter put all the clauses of the budget to vote. All clauses sailed through following which a final vote was taken to pass the 2016 budget.
Saraki commended all the senators for their “statesman-like behaviour towards the passing of the budget” and noted that it was now left for the executive arm of government to implement.
The senate president added: “We noted the initial hiccups of the 2016 budget and believe the 2017 process will be better.
“The senate will do its part in oversight and amend such laws as the Public Procurement Act.
“We have tried to reduce the size of the budget towards getting a sustainable 2016 budget,” Saraki said.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget proposal tagged ‘Budget of Change’ to a joint session of the senate and the house of representatives on December 22, 2015.
Different controversies have trailed the budget such as an initial report that the bill was lost before other revelations that figures in the budget were heavily padded. A number of ministers also publicly disowned estimates attributed to their ministries in the bill.
The house of representatives is also expected to consider the final report of its appropriation committee and the 2016 appropriation bill as passed by the senate before passing the same, to effectively end the three-month wait for a national budget for the year 2016.