…Adjourns till Nov. 9
The Senate on Wednesday adjourned plenary till November 9, 2021, to enable its Committees begin budget defense sessions with Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The upper chamber suspended sitting after concluding debate on the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
Lawan, in his remarks moments before the chamber adjourned, tasked committees to thoroughly scrutinize budget estimates in the 2022 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.
He said, “The Senate has hereby suspended plenary in order to consider the budget.
“There will be budget defense from Monday until November 9, when we resume plenary.
“Like we did before, we must remain very critical of the proposals presented to us by the executive arm of government.
“We must ensure equity in the distribution of projects. We must ensure economy in the application of funds. We must question any possible overpricing of items.
“[And] we should be able at the end of the day to have a budget that covers the interest of all the communities that we have in this and all parts of the country.”
Earlier, a total of 42 Senators took turns to make their contributions during the second and final day of debate on the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
Among those who spoke are Senators Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Adelere Oriolowo, Patrick Akinyelure, Ibrahim Gobir, Smart Adeyemi, Ibrahim Abdullahi, George Thompson Sekibo, Christopher Ekpenyong, Betty Apiafi, Mohammed Musa, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, Michael Nnachi, and Yahaya Oloriegbe.
Others are: Matthew Urhoghide, Francis Fadahunsi, Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, Anayo Rochas Okorocha, Oyelola Ashiru, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, Hezekiah Dimka, Binos Dauda Yaroe, Chukwuma Frank Ibezim, Olalekan Mustapha, Chukwuka Utazi, Abba Patrick Moro, Danladi Sankara, and Isah Jibrin.
Contributing to the debate on the 2022 Appropriation Bill, Senator Ibrahim Danbaba (PDP, Sokoto South), underscored the need for the federal government to include Public-Private Partnership as a way to fund the provision of critical infrastructure needed for economic development.
Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West), called for the urgent diversification of the economy through mining, adding that there are abundant mineral resources yet to be exploited by the federal government.
Senator George Thompson Sekibo (PDP, River East) advised the Central Bank of Nigeria to come up with policies that would help stabilize the country’s exchange rate over a period of time.
He also lamented that the implementation of capital projects in the 2022 budget proposal were tied to borrowing.
Senator Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP, Akwa Ibom North West), called for the scrutiny and tinkering of the budget estimates by the National Assembly, to ensure that it reflects the needs and meets the expectations of Nigerians.
Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers West), protested the exclusion of some states as beneficiaries of the loan to be sourced by the federal government.
According to the lawmaker, some states such as Rivers State do not stand to benefit from the loan through projects, but are among those to repay the loan obtained by Nigeria.
She also called on the federal government to give special attention to the power sector, adding that doing so would attract and promote private investments.
On his part, Senator Sani Musa (APC, Niger East) described the 2022 budget outlook as “good”, noting that “Nigeria’s debt level is sustainable”.
The lawmaker urged the federal government to ensure that borrowed funds are applied to critical projects.
According to him, focus must also be given to revenue generation, as well as the examination of the country’s tax framework.
He noted that doing so would ensure strict compliance by taxpayers and boost Nigeria’s revenue collection.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the 2022 Appropriation Bill after scaling second reading to the Committee on Appropriations for further work.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.
The Senate President, in his concluding remarks said, “I want to join all those that have commended Mr. President for presenting the Appropriation Bill 2022 in good time.
“This is one of the very important reasons why we are able to have sufficient time to consider the budgets (2020 and 2021) before the 2022 Appropriation bill was presented.
“I want to also Senators for the sacrifice in processing, consideration and passage of the 2020 and 2021 Appropriation Acts.
“That devotion, commitment and dedication certainly saw us succeed in passing the previous bills.
“I’m sure that we are ready to repeat the feat of passing the appropriation bill 2022 before the end of December.
“Distinguished colleagues, I agree with those of us who raised the issue of revenue generation, collection and remittances to the coffers of the federal government.
“The agencies that are supposed to collect and remit revenues would have to be tasked, and this 2022 appropriation bill shows we have over 400 billion coming especially from these agencies as additional revenues. We need to do better.
“Government agencies must remit revenues that they generate. We need to also invest in our people, dedication for our youth particularly and, of course, health.
“Distinguished colleagues, borrowing like most of us here said, is not bad. What we need to do is to ensure that what we borrow is prudently deployed in those areas of capital infrastructural development.
“The two or three committees that are oil related – Petroleum Upstream and Petroleum Downstream and Gas – need to be very alert to the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.
“This is very important because this Act that we passed here is to transform the Petroleum Industry, and at this formative age of the transformation, there is need for us to be very vigilant and oversight very closely to ensure that the taking off is successful.
“Our oversight as Committees must be very purposeful and at all times for the sole reason of ensuring that government funds are properly and prudently applied to the projects appropriated for.
“Finally, I want to commend the entire National Assembly for ensuring that the previous budgets were passed in good time and, of course, the assent was also the same.
“The implementation of 2020 budget was 100 percent. Today, the implementation of the 2021 is about sixty percent. We want to see a repeat of the 2020 implementation, so that we also have 100 percent at the end of the day in December.
“This is very important because we know that Nigeria came out of recession, and in fact achieved a GDP growth of over five percent because of the implementation of the 2020 funds appropriated.”
Tinubu Presents His First Budget As President On Wednesday
President Bola Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
This is according to a memo dated November 27, 2023, signed by the federal legislature’s Secretary of Human Resources and Staff Development, Shuaibu Maina Birma, on behalf of the Clerk to the National Assembly.
“I am directed to inform you that the 2024 Budget would be presented by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 29th November, 2023,” it read.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council has approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.
This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.
Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.
According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previously estimated.
He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.
Senate Seeks Nigeria’s Inclusion In $147billion Global Bitumen Market
…passes Bitmen Development Commission Bill for second reading
The Senate Thursday made legislative move of including Nigeria in the $147billion global bitumen market with passage for second reading , a bill seeking for establishment of Bitumen Development Commission .
Nigeria as stated in the bill sponsored by Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South) , has quantum of 5.9trillion barrels ( 938billion m³) of global in – place Bitumen and heavy oil resources , second to Venezuela .
He specifically informed the Senate that more than 80% of the resources are found in Canada , United States of America , Venezuela and Nigeria .
But lamented that while other countries blessed with the Natural resources are exploiting it through required legislations or legal frameworks , Nigeria’ has no legal framework for such exploration with attendant untapped opportunities and huge market loss .
Therefore according to him, ” the objectives of the Bill includes: the need to develop a legal framework for the regulation of the Bitumen development in Nigeria; to prevent unconventional sources from taking advantage of research-enhanced applications over other competitors; and to lead innovation and resource-based strategy in the development of bitumen in Nigeria.
“The Bill will also ensure effective utilisation of over 38 billion reserve of bitumen in Nigeria; and to promote economic diversification policy of the Federal Government”.
He added that the Bill among other reasons, seeks to restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and cordinating functioons , specifically as it relates to the Develooment of Bitumen in Nigeria .
Ondo State alone according to him , has the highest deposit in Africa with an estimated value of $42billion which are aside from depisits in Ogun State , Edo , Lagos and Akwa- Ibom States .
” The proposed Bitumen Development Commission when established , would fastrack the development of Bitumen in Nigeria , make her a key player in the $147billion global market and create instant 12, 000 jobs for Nigerians .
” It would also help Government at various levels to put in place asphalted roads in various communities .
” Out of the 200, 000 kilometres of roads in Nigeria , only 20, 000 are asphalted even with imported Bitumen which is not good and being addressed with the proposed commission” he said .
Many of the Senators who contributed to debate on the bill , concurred with Jimoh Ibrahim’s submissions , making the Senate as put to voice votes by its President , Godswill Akpabio , passed it for second reading .
Akpabio who commended Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for sponsorship of the development – driven bill, mandated the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals to make further legislative inputs on it and report back in a month’s time .
Barau Offsets Postgraduate Student’s Cancer Treatment Bills
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin, has paid the medical and surgery bills of Abdurrabah Idris Yahaya, a 30-year-old Kano State indigene and M.Sc. student who has been battling cancer.
Abdurrabah, a resident of Bankaura/S.Doka area of Ungogo Local Government of Kano State, who had been receiving treatment from home, went viral on social media, seeking assistance following medical doctors’ advice that he undergo surgery.
Worried by Abdurrabah’s situation and the urgency of the doctors’ advice, the Deputy Senate President sent a delegation with the sum of N1.45 million to offset his medical and surgery bills.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Muhammad Ibn Abdullahi, Senator Barau expressed concern over the health condition of the student who is a beneficiary of his Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme.
While urging the patient and his family to remain prayerful, as every illness is the will of Allah, Senator Barau prayed for the quick recovery of the student.
“The Deputy President of the Senate is deeply worried since he heard about the situation of this young, talented man’s health. As such, he sent us the sum of N1,450,000 as required by the doctors for his surgery.
“Strengthen your faith in Almighty God, Abdurrabah will be okay by the grace of Allah,” he said.
He reiterated the commitment of Senator Barau to supporting people in education, health, and other areas for the development of society irrespective of their constituents, region, or state.
While appreciating the Senator, the mother of the patient, Malama Halima Haruna, who could not hold back her tears, said she had no words other than prayers for the Senator.
Speaking on her behalf, Abdurrabah’s elder sister, Nafisa Idris Yahaya, said they had been pleading for support from people, but Senator Barau has, by his financial assistance, wiped away their tears.
“We received the sum of N1,450,000 from the Deputy President of the Senate. In the past, Senator Barau had paid for his scholarship for a master’s degree. Here he is again, assisting our family. We have been looking for where to get money for the surgery, but today is our happiest day. We appreciate him for this. May Almighty Allah reward him abundantly,” she said.
TINUBU: SECURITY, JOB CREATION, POVERTY REDUCTION TOP PRIORITIES OF 2024 BUDGET
SharePresident Bola Tinubu says Nigeria’s national defence and internal security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital...
CJN Urges Judges To Remain Fair In Judgements
Share The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has asked Judges to maintain the integrity that the Judiciary is...
Tinubu Retains Kyari As NNPCL GCEO, Appoints Akinyelure As Board Chairman
Share President Bola has appointed Pius Akinyelure as the Non-Executive Board Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL)...
FEC Approves N27.5tn As 2024 Budget
Share***Reviews Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Monday, approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion. This followed...
Tinubu Presents His First Budget As President On Wednesday
Share President Bola Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday. This is according to a...