The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Bashiru Ajibola, has explained why the upper legislative chamber postponed the passage of the 2023 budget.
Ajibola, who was featured on Channels Television’s program, Politics Today, said the passage of the bill was postponed in order to collaborate with the Executive in the appropriation of the budget.
The Osun Central Senator added the move was to ensure that an allocated project did not appear more than once under different Ministries.
President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2023 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly on October 7.
The Senate had declared its intention to pass the budget before the end of the year in order to sustain the January to December budget cycle.
Ajibola said: “The reality is that one of the areas where the executive and the legislative arms must necessarily collaborate is in the area of making appropriation law. And in this regard, the draft that the Executive has sent to the National Assembly will have to be worked upon by the various appropriation committees of the National Assembly, that is, the two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“It is just a question of what has been allocated and whether what has been put under a particular ministry should be in those ministries. So, there’s a need to streamline.
“If you make an allocation, for instance, that has to do with construction, and that had been serviced under, for instance, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, that must be put properly within the agency that has the necessary vires to be able to carry out that responsibility.
“It was in the course of engagement with the MDAs and interrogating the secretary generals of the MDAs that these issues arose, and then, there has to be some kind of bilateral discussion between the relevant committees of the National Assembly and that of the Executive.
“And I believe, as I am speaking, those areas have been streamlined, and by the grace of God, by Wednesday, the clean budget will be approved by the National Assembly. And because the clean budget has been worked on, on a bilateral basis, we are optimistic that before midnight 31st December, Mr. President will assent, and it will be billed to become law.”
“So, the National Assembly necessarily, they are not bound by it, but at the same time, we cannot afford to be reckless because there must be a correlation between allocation in terms of expenditure and expected revenue, particularly in the context of a heavy deficit budget that is being presented for 2023. So, we need to be cautious in terms of sectoral allocation and the cap that has been given to each of the MDAs.”