By Patience Danjuma
The Senate on Tuesday rescheduled its planned debate on the 2018 Appropriation Bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, told members of the upper chamber that discussions will now start on November 28.
Saraki said the postponement was due to the delay in the passage of the 2018-2020 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and distribution of budget documents.
The Senate president had on November 16 announced that the consideration will hold on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
“We have to pass the MTEF which we are hoping to be laid by tomorrow(Wednesday) to be passed this week,” he said while announcing the change.
“Secondly, the distribution of documents. I hope you have all received the documents accompanying the 2018 budget.”
He announced the documents to include; “revenue and expenditure of FGN owned enterprise and agencies, the consolidated 2016 implementation report, budget implementation report for first quarter 2017 and second quarter 2017 and also budget volume one and two and the joint sitting votes and proceedings also should be received today.”
He said November 28 and 29 will be dedicated to debate on the budget, while November 30 will be for the debate on revenue and expenditure budget of FGN on enterprise and agencies.
In a similar development, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yussuf Lasun has said that members would commence debate on the general principles of the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N8.6 trillion from November 28.
The Deputy Speaker, while announcing the date during plenary session on Tuesday, said that the debate would be concluded on Nov. 30.
Lasun added that it would be followed by a public hearing scheduled for Dec. 4.
He urged the lawmakers to ensure they get copies of the 2018 budget proposal presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint session of the National Assembly.
“Members are to indicate the date they wish to contribute to the debate as there is need for us to participate actively and that the bill is given expeditious attention,’’ Lasun said.
It can be recalled that the president, while presenting the 2018 budget proposal to the National Assembly, said that it would consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets to improve the country’s economy.
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