Senate Begins Debate On N27.5trn Budget Without Documentation

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ABUJA- Senators yesterday began debate on the general principles of the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N27.5 trillion presented before the joint session of the National Assembly President Bola Tinubu without documents for robust comments and critique.

With the commencement of debate on the budget, the Senate will today pass it for second reading and, thereafter, adjourn plenary sessions to allow for ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, to appear before various standing committees to defend the proposals, and then reconvene on December 12.

Presenting a lead debate on the general principles of the budget, the Senate Leader, Senator Bamidele Opeyemi, APC, Ekiti Central, said the budget would prioritise electricity, procurement of vaccines, major roads and railway projects.

 

Opeyemi said: “Based on these fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally collectible revenue is estimated at 16.87 trillion naira in 2024; total federally distributable revenue is estimated at 11.09 trillion naira in 2024, while total revenue available to fund the 2024 federal budget is estimated at 9.73 trillion naira.

‘’This includes the revenues of 63 government-owned enterprises; and oil revenue is projected at 1.92 trillion naira, non-oil taxes are estimated at 2.43 trillion naira; FGN independent revenues are projected to be 2.21 trillion naira. Other revenues total 762 billion naira, while the retained revenues of the GOEs amount to N2.42 trillion naira.’’

In his contribution, Senator Joel Onowakpo (APC, Delta South) said: “If you look at the budget, the capital expenditure is N8.7 trillion and I think with this budget, most of the things that have been lacking will be attended to.

 

“The budget is one of the things we will find useful in working with the President and we will give him the opportunity to give Nigerians a renewed hope.Out of the oil revenue we intend to increase the tax to 18%. This bill should be passed as a matter of urgency.”

In his contribution, Senator Osita Ngwu (PDP, Enugu West), stressed the need to ensure that oil agencies in the country didn’t decline again.

He said: “We need to review the PIA because since the implementation of the PIA, there have been bigger problems.”

 

Senator Eteng Williams, APC, Cross River Central) also said the daily oil production will be 1.7 million barrels per day, describing it as very encouraging.

Speaking on the challenges facing the implementation of the budget, Senator Binos Yaroe (PDP, Adamawa South), expressed dissatisfaction with the process of considering and approving budget in the past.

He, however, urged his colleagues to carry out proper scrutiny of the budget.

 

Also contributing, Senator Oyewunmi Olalere (PDP, Osun West), urged his colleagues to ensure the various committees carry out their respective duties as expected.

“A lot needs to be done by the National Assembly to ensure that that various committees take responsibility of the end of the year monitoring,’’ he said.

On his part, Senator Ekong Samson (PDP, Akwa-Ibom South), while hailing the attention given to the issue of insecurity in the country, noted the continued lack of implementation of budget in the country.

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He said: “I have seen attention in respect of security and it is very key because we cannot get anywhere if our space is not secure.A budget should also create access to opportunity. There has been a critical issue of implementation. I want to ask that we ensure the budget is implemented. The people of Akwa-Ibom South have very high hopes for the budget.”

On her part, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan PDP, Kogi Central, who expressed concern over the poor educational system in Kogi Central, cited the fact that majority of kids usaually sat on the floor to study.

‘’80% of the public schools there are in dilapidated situations and we need improvement,’’ Akpoti-Uduaghan said

 

 

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