The Joint Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives on Appropriations on Wednesday assured Nigerians that the N6.08tn for this year budget would be passed on March 17, 2016.
The committees stated that the final report on the appropriation bill would be laid on the floor of both chambers of the National Assembly on March 16 for consideration and subsequent passage the following day.
Both panels had earlier said that the February 25 date for the passage of the budget was no longer realistic due to errors and padding.
However, at a joint press conference in Abuja Wednesday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, gave an assurance that this year’s budget would be passed on March 17.
Specifically, Goje said that both committees would meet critical stakeholders, including the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Accountant-General of the Federation; and Director, Budget Office of the Federation on Thursday.
He said the committees and the invited officials would seize the opportunity of the meeting to address grey areas observed in the budget.
Goje said, “Tomorrow (Thursday), we are going to have a discussion with the Minister of Budget and Planning, Minister of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Accountant-General of the Federation.
“The same thing with the Senate; we are also going to engage these people. We are going to engage other ministers to ensure that as much as possible, we align this budget to satisfy the needs of Nigerians.
“We may not be 100 per cent right, but we will try to get it right because the basic thing is to ensure that we produce a budget that will translate into the betterment of the lives of Nigerians.”
When asked if both legislative chambers would conclude the consideration of the bulky submissions of all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government within the four hours of sitting as promised, Jibrin explained that the lawmakers were already familiar with the details of the budget.
He explained that the budgets of all the MDAs had been submitted.
Jibrin added that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who earlier failed to present his ministry’s budget due to official engagements, did so on Tuesday behind closed doors.
On the non-appearance of Kachikwu, Jibrin reversed the committee’s threat to take over the budget of the ministry and other standing committees, which failed to meet the deadline for the submission of the budgets of the various MDAs.