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2014 Budget Passes Second Reading At Senate

 

By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.

The 2014 Appropriation Bill has scaled second reading in the Senate after a week of heated debate on its general principles and provisions.

There has been fears that the N4.6Trillion budget may suffer setback following recent directives by the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) to its members at the parliament to frustrate all Executive bills.

Following its passage at the second reading on Tuesday,  the Senate committed the budget to its committees on finance and appropriation with a mandate to thorough scrutiny of its provisions based on the observations made by senators during the debate.

The Joint Committees on Finance and Appropriation is expected to submits report back to the Senate for final passage within the next three weeks.

Senators at the plenary, including those in the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, all gave resounding consents to the passage of the budget to the next stage.

Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary had earlier threw two questions for senators to approve or reject the passage of the budget from second reading stage.

Senators were to respond by either shouting “ayes”, meaning approval of passage or “nay”, meaning otherwise.

However, the majority from PDP senators supported by some others from the opposition parties approved that the budget pass the second reading.

Only a noticeable few members from the opposition APC shouted “nay” meaning no to its passage.

Senator Ekweremadu, therefore charged chairmen of the Senate Standing committees to liaise with their counterparts in the House of Representatives to resolve some areas of differences at committee levels before submission of   report within the given period.

He thanked senators for what he called “their useful  contributions at such national assignment” leading to a successful debate even as he admitted that the budget stirred some controversies especially on issues ranging from  waste, over-bloated funds and slow or poor budget implementation.

He charged the committees to do a thorough job on the budget, saying the action of the Senate was the reflection of the principle of separation of power as enshrined in the constitution.

Earlier, during contributions on the budget, Senator Ehigie Uzamere,APC,Edo, canvassed that the National Assembly should after appropriaton, mandates ministries to appear every quarter to explain how they have utilised funds appropriated to their various ministries.

He further called on the executive to expedite action on the construction of second Niger Bridge, stating with concern that people passing through the bridge during second week of every December pass through hail.

Also speaking,Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties, Clever Ikisikpo,PDP,Bayelsa,Said that the budget was meant for all Nigerians, saying any attempt by any chamber of the National Assembly to stall its passage would cause harm for the common man on the street.

According to him, within the period that there was disagreement over what should be the oil benchmark, Nigerians were not happy with the delay and that the call by the leadership of the APC for the budget to be blocked nearly pitched the party against the generality of Nigerians because of its consequences.

He said:”Blocking the budget means a lot because they want to bring hardship upon the common man.

“In the Senate, we behave maturely and that is the reason we are able to pass the budget against all odds and till tomorrow, I don’t think we will have problems even with the clause to clause debate”

“Speaking on the increase in recurrent expenditure, Ikisikpo said Nigerian would continue to witness such increase as long as government continues to create jobs for the people.

“We should rather look at the issue of fictitious spending and forget about recurrent being 74 percent and capital having 26 percent because we need jobs to be created for the teeming  jobless  youths in the society”

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