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NASS Fails Nigerians On 2016 Budget Passage

Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Any hope that the 2016 Appropriation Bill would be passed by next Tuesday have been dashed, as the Joint Appropriation Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives failed to lay the documents of the Bill on the floors of the two chambers during Thursday’s Plenary as earlier promised.

The UNION reports that the Chairman, Senate Committee of Media and Public Affairs, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, after Wednesday’s Plenary informed the Senate correspondents that the documents would be laid on Thursday.

Disappointedly, there was no reflection of the Appropriation Report of the Committee on the Order Papers of both chambers, and there was no mention of the Budget by either of the presiding officers of the two chambers.

Addressing National Assembly correspondents on the failed promise, the spokespersons of both chambers, led by Sabi, explained that the inability of the Joint Committees on Appropriation to present their reports was hinged on the fact that they are still trying to clean up the data aimed at making their reports error free before presenting them to the chambers.

Sabi said that the Joint Committee is optimistic that it would lay the Bill on the floors of both chambers on Tuesday next week.

He added that it is envisaged that its consideration at the Committee of the Whole/Supply would be done on Wednesday before its final passage.

It would be that the Joint Appropriation Committee, at a Press Conference on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, told the National Assembly correspondents that the Bill would be laid on March 16, 2016.

Thereafter, it would be considered and passed on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

For the third time, the Joint Committee has assured of the passage of the Bill by next week Tuesday, bearing in mind that the presentation would have been done on Thursday to pave way for its finally passage by next Tuesday.

However, given its failure to honour its words on Thursday, it is difficult to believe the authenticity of it passage before the federal legislators would embark on Easter break next week.

Meanwhile, a detailed breakdown of the National Assembly budget revealed that  the total recurrent expenditure is N102,388,897,511 billion as contained in the one-page-document, while the capital expenditure is N12.62 billion. The total allocation is N115 billion.

Further breakdown of the above figure as contained in a one-page document is as follows: N26.9 billion as recurrent expenditure for Senate and N3.258 billion as capital expenditure amounting to N30 billion.

The House of Representatives has N44.55 billion and N2.652 billion amounting toN47.212 as both the recurrent and capital expenditures. The National Assembly management has N10 billion as recurrent expenditure and N1.576 as capital expenditure totalling N11.625 billion.

In the same vein, the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), National Assembly’s think tank, has N5.044 billion as capital expenditure and N3.383 billion as recurrent expenditure. The total allocation to NILS isN8.3 billion.

The leadership of the National Assembly also allocated N1.858 billion as recurrent expenditure and N113.7 million as capital expenditure amounting to N1.971 billion to the National Assembly Service Commission.

Also, N8.669 billion and N789.7 million totalling N9.458 billion as recurrent and capital expenditures were allocated for general services; N115 million to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts; N138 million to the House Committee on Public Accounts; N9.668 billion to legislative aides and N374.4 billion as service order vote.

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