The Senate may on Wednesday pass for third reading, the N8.83 trillion 2019 Appropriation Bill presented to the joint sitting of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 19th of December, 2018, a source has said.
The final report on the budget estimates was laid before the Senate by the Chairman of its Appropriation Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central) Wednesday last week before the upper legislative chamber embarked on one-week Easter break.
The red chamber had before the break, planned to pass the budget for third reading last week Tuesday, April 16, 2019 but couldn’t due to failure of many of its standing committees to submit reports on scrutinised budget proposals of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, under their purview to the appropriation committee on Thursday, April 11, 2019 as directed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki penultimate Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
Mr Saraki had in giving the directive two weeks ago, hinted that the N8.83trillion 2019 budget would be passed on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 which the Senate however failed to do, due to delay on submission of reports by the various standing committees to the appropriation committee.
With just about 45 days from now for the 8th National Assembly to adjourn sine die in paving way for the 9th National Assembly and final report on the budget already laid, the Senate will either pass the budget for third reading today or tomorrow.
This is as time seems to be running out for it and the House of Representatives in view of the 30-day time line that must be provided at the time of transmission of any bill to the President for assent.
If the budget is passed for third reading at both chambers today or tomorrow, it will still have to be harmonised next week through a joint committee before forwarding it for assent by the president.
One of the issues of harmonisation that will arise in the approved budget estimates from both chambers is the N10billion intervention fund, the Senate will include in its own for Zamfara State as approved via resolution to that effect two weeks ago.