Supplementary Budget: Senate President Turns Down Committee’s Request For More Time
Emperor Simon, Abuja
Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday turned down a request from the Senate Committee on Appropriations for an extension of two weeks to enable it submit its report on the supplementary budget requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate President directed the committee to submit its reports latest by Wednesday.
President Buhari is requesting approval from the National Assembly for the sum of N895.8 billion to supplement the 2021 budget.
The proposed supplementary budget is intended to be used to equip the military, fund Covid-19 vaccination programs and the management of HIV.
Appropriations Committee chairman, Senator Barau Jibrin, on Tuesday had explained that it was impossible for the panel to conclude work on the budget report at the stipulated deadline, and asked for more time.
“We were given the mandate to submit the report today. We started work on the bill. And we discovered that we needed more time because we feel we must meet the minimum standard set out by the rules of this Senate in processing the bill,” he said.
“The expected time we feel we will be able to do this is this week and then get our report submitted on Tuesday next week.
“I appeal that this Distinguished Senate permit us to submit our report on Tuesday next week.”
But Senate President Lawan refused the request, stating that the bill was a straightforward one that does not need much time to consider.
“Chairman, you will not have more than today. This is a very straightforward supplementary budget request. So it doesn’t need two weeks working on it,” he said.
“And you remember, we have a line up of so many important bills to consider in this Senate.
“So you have today, you lay tomorrow, we receive tomorrow. Because I’m sure you had the entire weekend from Wednesday, almost six days. That should be enough. This is just two sectors.
“It is not a complicated thing. So you don’t need up to Tuesday next week. So you submit tomorrow please.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Tuesday also received a request for the consideration of the supplementary budget.
Approved by FEC
President Muhammadu Buhari transmitted the supplementary budget of N895.8 billion to the Senate for approval last Tuesday.
The president’s request was referred to the Appropriations Committee for further legislative work. And the panel was asked to report back on Tuesday (today).
While the budget is expected to be laid on Wednesday, it is however not clear if the Senate will consider and pass it the same day.
President Buhari’s request comes about two weeks after the Federal Executive Council approved the budget.
The Federal Government said the budget is specifically meant to enhance the capacity of the military and para-military agencies to tackle the various security challenges in the country.
”The total of this expenditure is made up of N83.56 billion for COVID-19 vaccine programme, covering 30 billion vaccines from Johnson and Johnson vaccines and the logistics cost related to the deployment of that vaccine,” , the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had said on June 9.
“It also contains the sum of N1.69 billion for the Nigerian Comprehensive AIDS programme currently operating in the States and an additional contingency provision of N40 billion under the public service-wide wage adjustments to take care of the needs for allowances to the health and education sectors and other wage-related issues.”
She said the Council also approved an aggregate sum of N770.60 billion to further enhance the capacity of the defence and security agencies to address current and emerging security challenges in our country.