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Senate to consider budget amendment this week

By on July 22, 2013

The Senate may have changed its earlier position to delay the consideration of the 2013 budget amendment proposals submitted by President Goodluck Jonathan until September, as there are plans to take the second and third readings of the bill this week.

Sometime in June, the Senate, in response to accusations from the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that it was refusing to consider the amendment, said it was not prepared to take a look at the proposals until senators resumed from their two-month recess in September.

They had reasoned that the amendments submitted were similar to the presentation of new budget proposals rather than items for adjustment in the existing Act.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, while speaking to our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday, said the budget would be taken this week.

He said although the Senate had taken a decision not to consider the amendment until its members returned from the break, he explained that some discussions had been held between the executive and the legislature, and certain understanding had been reached.

“Yes, we had said we would wait until September when we would have returned from the break before we would take it; but some discussions have been going on and we are likely going to take it this week,” Abaribe said.

According to him, the budget has already been read for the first time on the floor, signalling that the Senate was favourably disposed to discussing the details before embarking on its long break.

In the amendment sought to the original budget, the President had urged the National Assembly to restore a total of N78.54bn reduced from the capital allocations of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the Appropriation Act.

He also asked the Senate to restore all the reductions from the personnel cost of all the agencies to avert possible industrial crisis, but he did not state any particular figure.