Senate Commences Debate on 2017 Budget

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The Senate on Tuesday commenced debate on general principle of 2017 Appropriation Bill which was laid before the joint session of National Assembly on Wednesday 14th last month by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Leading the debate, Senate leader Ahmed Lawal said the bill seeks to authorize the issue from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation the total sum of N7, 298, 507, 709, 937 as against N6.1 trillion of 2016. He said the 2017 budget will as a matter of urgency address the immediate problems of youth unemployment and the terrible living conditions of the extremely poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
The Senate leader further stated that the 2017 budget seeks to devote a significant portion of the recurrent expenditure to institutions that provide critical government services. “The 2017 budget seeks to stimulate our national economy making it more competitive by focusing on infrastructural development, delivery of inclusive growth and prioritizing the welfare of Nigerians” Lawal said.

He urges the Senators to support the second reading of the bill and commit it to the committees for detailed consideration.

In his contribution, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said nothing is new in the budget. “I have not seen anything absolutely different in the budget. If we are going to borrow almost what we are spending” Abaribe said.

He also faulted the budget allocation for catering equipments, welfare and purchase of cars in State House.

The Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said the debate on 2017 budget started well because there is issue of missing budget this year. He faulted the mode of generating names for the social welfare programme and questioned the sustainability of the programme. The Deputy Senate President also added that the issue of borrowing should be properly address.

Other Senators that contributed in the debate include Banabas Gemade, Rose Okoh and Joshua Lidani. The debate on the 2017 budget continues on Wednesday.

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Hamilton Nwosa

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