Only ignorants will say 2024 budget document is empty, says Senator Adeola - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Saturday, December 2, 2023

Only ignorants will say 2024 budget document is empty, says Senator Adeola

Chairman, Senate  Committee  on  Appropriations,  Senator  Olamilekan  Adeola,  APC, Ogun West  has said that the Senate will meet the 31st December- January deadline  for the passage of the N27.5  trillion Appropriation  Bill  presented to the  National  Assembly  by President  Bola  Tinubu  on Wednesday. 

Speaking to Journalists  yesterday  in Abuja  after the meeting of  the Committee on Appropriations,  Senator  Adeola dismissed  the insinuation by some lawmakers who described President Bola Tinubu's N27.5 trillion 2024 budget as an empty document, just as he said that such persons are ignorant for lack of what to say,  insisting that the budget document is in tune with the yearnings of Nigerians. 

Recall that barely 48 hours after President  Tinubu Presented the N27.5 trillion 2024 Budget to the joint session of the national Assembly the Senate on Friday passed the 2024 budget for second reading despite lapses

The bill was passed for second reading during Friday's plenary after the lawmakers debated its general principles without having the breakdown of the estimates, including sectoral allocations. .

Senator Adeola who debunked the insinuations that firebrigade approach was being deployed, said, "There is no fire brigade here. There are processes which we have to follow. Agencies will have to appear to defend their budgets and they will return the budget to the Appropriations Committee for us to collate their findings at the committee level.

According  to him, for expeditious consideration at committee levels and final passage before Christmas, the Senate mandated its committee on Appropriations, to  after collation of reports from various standing committees, submit final report on the budget to the Senate on Tuesday, December 19, 2023.

Adeola  said, "We have only discussed the modalities that we are going to use to ensure we have a smooth appropriation process in the Senate and I think all the chairmen of the various committees of the Senate are here and we discussed extensively so that we can still meet the 31st December – January deadline so that the president can assent to the budget. 

"We have perfected the strategy and we are good to go. That is basically what we discussed.

"This time around, what has changed is that we will be having joint sittings of both the House of Representatives and the Senate; some committees will be operating from the Senate while some will operate from the House of Representatives. We can still meet the deadline.

On some agencies not appearing, the chairman said “I know that part of the directive given by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is that all ministers at this point should ensure that they are on ground to defend their budgets before the National Assembly. I know, no head of agency or parastatal will flout that order of the president. 

"We are working towards that. From next week you will see agencies coming to defend their budgets in the National Assembly.

When asked on the limited time for deliberation whiCh will may not allow for a thorough job to be done Adeola  said, whoever said that is not sincere. Like I said nothing has changed. Whatever you.want to define to be thorough we still have the time to do and we have said the only thing that we have amended is this issue of joint sitting. So that we can cover some delays that we have encountered in the laying of the budget so we are working round the clock and our Saturdays and Sundays are no longer free until the budget is eventually passed.

"You can see all the papers today, there are sectoral releases of what the president presented us. You know that the President Presentation is the first reading, second reading is the debate of the general principle of the bill as contained in the speech of tge President which we debated for two days and on Friday the budget was submitted to us and immediately we went to work and release all the sectoral releases which has been presented by the President to Nigerians.

"So that they will know which ministry gets what, what is going to each ministry and after that is the detail which we will work with for the agencies that will be appearing before us to defend their budget so the person that is saying that does not know what he is saying."

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