The Senate has reneged on its promise to pass the revised 2016 budget today, as it has again shifted the passage of the budget till next week Tuesday. The Red Chamber, had also earlier assured that its Committee on Appropriation would lay the various reports of committees collated before it during yesterday’s plenary, but has failed to adhere to the promise.
According to investigations by Punch, the reason for the non passage of the budget was because the Senate and House Joint Committee on Appropriation had detected fresh errors in the 2016 budget. Although the errors would not affect the plan of the National Assembly to transmit the budget to President Muhammadu Buhari before Easter as efforts were being made to correct them.
It was learnt that one of the anomalies detected was in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, where provisions had been made for procurement and installation of security systems every year since 2013.
For example, in 2013, the sum of N527,000,000 was budgeted for the item; in 2014, N1,161,356,582 was allocated to the same item; in 2015, N316,420,274 was budgeted for it; and N1,710,322,610 is to be spent on the procurement and installation of security system in the SGF office in 2016.
Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, told newsmen that the budget would be formally laid before Senate during today’s plenary, adding that the 2016 fiscal document would be deliberated and passed next Tuesday
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity Affairs, Abdullahi Sabi, assured that the budget would be laid today, even as he evaded question on when it will be passed.
He said: “I want to assure Nigerians that the 2016 budget will be laid in the Senate chamber as promised by the Chairman of Appropriation Committee. “We are not unmindful of the date set for the passage, but we want to give Nigerians a budget that is acceptable, implementable, and that will actually drive the key policies of this government with respect to the change agenda.
“All is almost set for the laying of the 2016 budget tomorrow (today) in the Senate. As we had promised Nigerians and with that, one or two processes that are required will take place and we will have our budget as promised.
“This has put to rest any suspicion of what is happening. I am here to inform you that tomorrow (today), God sparing our lives, the 2016 budget would be laid by the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee.”
Senate spokesperson, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, refuted the claims that their were errors in the budget, stating that the previous errors had been corrected at the committee stage. He said that there were no fresh errors and challenged anyone with contrary information to publish the source.
Abdullahi said, “The errors in the budget were identified at the various committee levels. The Appropriation committees of both chambers had jointly scrutinised the document and had come up with an error-free copy.
“As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, I can confirm to you that I am not aware of any fresh error discovered after the joint committee of the two chambers had worked on the budget.
“I challenge anyone with contrary information to publish it together with the source.”