It is no longer news but a reality that the Senate for the first time in twenty years has passed into law on record time the 2020 Appropriation Bill. This very important milestone achievement is in tandem with the resolve of both the Legislative and Executive Arms of Government to return the Nigeria’s Budget Circle to the normal January to December as promised by the present administration.
The Senate, on Thursday, December 5, 2019 took the nation by surprise as it laid the Report of 2020 Appropriation Bill before the Chamber for further legislative actions.
The Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Barau Jibrin (Kano North) laid the Report. The Chamber accordingly decided via a voice vote to resolve into the Committee of Supply to accord the Bill an accelerated consideration.
Consequently, the Chamber in the Committee of Supply considered and approved as recommended or amended clauses 1 – 12, explanatory memorandum of understanding, short and long titles of the 2020 Appropriation Bill. The legislation was without hindrance read the third time and passed.
Impressively, the 2020 Budget Estimates has a total sum of N10. 594 trillion out of which the sum of N4. 842 trillion is for Recurrent Expenditure, N2. 465 trillion is for contribution to Development Funds for Capital Expenditure, the sum of N2.725 trillion is for Debt Servicing while N560. 470 billion is for Statutory Transfers.
Other indices of the 2020 Budget include Fiscal Deficit of N2. 28 trillion, Deficit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1. 52 per cent, Oil Production output of 2.18 million barrels per day and predicated Oil Benchmark of $57 per cent.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the session, congratulated the lawmakers over the marvelous feat achieved stating that the National Assembly has ensured the passage into law all the legislation that would ensure the smooth implementation of the 2020 Budget. He added that in view of this, the legislature would conduct a thorough oversight of the 2020 budget. Sen. Lawan therefore called on the Executive to ensure full implementation of the 2020 Budget.
Meanwhile, the Red Chamber has also deliberated upon and passed a Motion that originated from a Point of Order.
Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) came under Point of Order 42 and 52 to lodge a complaint before the Chamber on the too many Check Points mounted in the South East by the Security Operatives which affect the free flow of traffic. The Motion sailed through with three resolutions below:
i) Appeal to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to scale down the number of check points along major highways in the South East.
ii) Appeal to the IGP to direct his men to wear human face while on duty at the check points.
iii) Appeal to Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Federal Ministry of Works to give face lift to the Federal Highways in Nigeria.