By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
…N3.5trillion for NNPC, N377billion for CBN
There was uproar in Senate today over what senators described as strange budget proposal seeking appropriation for the Security Exchange Commission(SEC), Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation other 49 agencies.
President Goodluck Jonathan has withheld his assent on the 2014 budget passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly in April, raising some grave concerns over the increment to the figures by the lawmakers.
Earlier this week, the Executive blamed the legislature for the delay in the passage of the 2014 budget almost half way into the year, warning on the consequences of late implementation to economy.
But senators yesterday expressed surprise at the new proposal, arguing that most of the proposed headings were already captured in the N4.695 trillion national budgets that passed by the National Assembly.
Drama ensued when the new 2014 budget proposal covering 52 agencies made a surprise appearance in the Order Paper slated for consideration.
The drama began when Deputy Senate Leader Abdul Ningi, read the proposal of 2014 budget for consideration on the floor of the Senate.
Many senators were surprised and amazed because the same agencies have appeared before the various standing committees during the consideration of the 2014 Appropriation Bill apart from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The lawmakers said what they are expecting now is for President Jonathan to sign the budget and begin its implementation.
Senator James Manager, (PDP Delta), reminded the senate that most of the agencies have appeared before the committees of the Senate, except some isolated case like that of Central Bank of Nigeria.
Raising a point of order vide Order 26 (6) of the Senate Standing Orders (2011, as amended), Senate Spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, also argued that the Senate has dealt with the matter of 2014 budget and there is no need to go back to it again.
But the Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Sen. Ita Enang, informed the lawmakers that the document is from the Budget Office of the Federation of the Federal Ministry of Finance, adding that the document came with the federal budget.
According to the document, CBN’s budget of N377.118b, has a huge N889, 738,000million being allocated as lunch and other allowances for the Police while another N269, 793 will go for consultancy fees for the year.
For the NNPC, out of the N3.555 trillion budget for the year, personnel expenses will gulp N184, 760,150,000 while N398, 359,650,000 is for overheads. The Corporation will spend N450, 044,620,000 on capital expenditure.
In his response to the issue, the Senate President, Senator David Mark explained that the problem with the proposal was that the Committee on Rules and Business should have identified some agencies that have been appropriated for by the National Assembly and separate them from the 52 agencies before the committees begin work on it.