OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Tuesday passed the 2020 budget of N10.33 trillion for second reading following the end of debate by senators on the general principles of the money bill.

The chamber thereafter adjourned plenary till October 29 to allow Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to appear for budget defence before senate committees.

Recall that Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari appeared before the joint session of the National Assembly on October 8 to present the appropriation bill.

The following day, senators began to debate the budget, an exercise which lasted for three legislative days and ended on October 15.

The bill after scaling second reading was referred to the committee on Appropriations which will spread the budget across the standing committees of the chamber for detailed legislative work.

Speaking at the end of the budget defence, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, insisted that the budget defence will end on October 29 noting that the 2020 budget must be passed before the federal lawmakers proceed for Christmas break.

“For our committees, we have set ourselves from 30th of October to 5th of November for all subcommittees offer appropriations to defend their budget before the senate committee on appropriations”, Lawan added.

He informed that the committee on appropriations in both federal chambers will harmonise the appropriation bill between 6th of November to 21st of November while they would lay the document before the respective chambers by the end of November.

The President of the red chamber threatened to stop budgetary allocations to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and others agencies that are yet to submit their budget to the chamber.

He said: “I will not conclude this comment without making reference to these agencies that don’t bring their budget to the National Assembly on time. One of our colleagues mentioned that the NDDC’s 2018 and 2019 budget has not been brought here. Now, it is 2020.

“The warning to the NDDC is if you don’t bring 2020 budget proposal in time, you won’t have money to spend anymore because you cannot be spending government funds without appropriation.

“Appropriation is the responsibility of the National Assembly and we are not going to allow our responsibility to slip through our fingers. It is the same thing for NCC, FCT and any other agency that has not sent it’s budget.”

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