“And the main reason is that the Appropriation Bill came to the National Assembly with some problems and our committee secretariats are not able to finish processing the budget for us to take today nor tomorrow, nor Saturday nor Sunday because this are periods that are for festivities, Christmas period; Monday, Tuesday are public holidays”
ASHENEWS reports that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has given reasons why the Senate decided to postpone the passage of the 2023 appropriation bill to December 28.
Speaking at the commencement of plenary on Thursday, he said although the earlier announcement was that the bill would be passed before the chamber adjourned for Christmas recess on Thursday, it was not possible because of some challenges emanating from the executive arm of government.
“Today was scheduled for us to receive and consider the report of our committee on Appropriation for the 2023 Appropriation Bill. However, due to some challenges, we are not able to receive the report of the committee.
“And the main reason is that the Appropriation Bill came to the National Assembly with some problems.
“And when our Committees on Appropriation in the Senate and the House of Representatives started to reconcile the figures of what we have done and what was presented, the problems became very obvious and they were not easy to deal with, and therefore our committees had to start a process of cleaning up the Bill first,” Lawan said.
“That process, of course, also engaged the executive arm because the problems came from them.
“It was concluded only on Wednesday and our committee secretariats are not able to finish processing the budget for us to take today nor tomorrow, nor Saturday nor Sunday because this are periods that are for festivities, Christmas period; Monday, Tuesday are public holidays.
“Consequently, we can only receive the report and consider it on Wednesday, December 28. That is the earliest, that’s next week.
“So far, this ninth National Assembly has done so much to pass the previous appropriation Bills since 2019, before the end of the year to date and I’m sure that this would remain one of the cherished legacies of the ninth National Assembly.
“So by the Grace of God, on the 28th of this month, the senate and indeed the House of Representatives will all come back to receive and consider the budget report from our committees.
“We had arranged on Wednesday, that the finance committee will present a report of the Finance Bill Hearing today.
“That of course would not be possible. This is the reason: We also received two communications- Supplementary Budget 2022 and of course, Ways and Means.
“So our committees on Appropriation, Finance, Water Resources, Agriculture and Works and Housing will be processing the Bills for today.
“In that respect, the senate will adjourn immediately so that our committees start the action they are supposed to take and therefore those reports will also be available to us on the 28th when we will be here.
“I want to thank all of you my Distinguished colleagues for your support, cooperation, commitment, dedication on all these things that we have been doing as a legislature.
“Let me advise the Executive. The Bills that have come to us, the Ways and Means, the Supplementary Appropriation, whoever is invited to come and explain, give information or any details for the National Assembly to understand must do so, because its not our work alone.
“We want to do our work thoroughly, we want to understand whatever we are going to deal with and to base our decisions on information, and time is of essence.
“Just like we are going to sacrifice part of our festive period to be back here, nobody should tell us that they are in their places because it is Christmas. They should be available with every necessary information,” the President of the Senate said.