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Senate jerks up 2019 budget, gives nod

by CredibleNews

The Senate has passed the 2019 appropriation bill, jerking up the estimates from N8.83 trillion to N8.916 trillion.

The passage followed the presentation of a report by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe Central), at plenary after which the Senate reverted to its Committee on Supply for clause by clause consideration of the report.

The bill was thereafter read for the third time and passed.

Goje said the need to provide for the severance benefits of outgoing lawmakers, their aides, provision for the National Assembly orientation programme, election and support for victims of the recent killings in Zamfara State necessitated the increase.

“There is also the need to provide more funds for security and intelligence agencies to deal with additional, emerging and unforeseen challenges in the country,” he said.

He said all of these were not captured in the 2019 budget submitted by the president.

The Senate passed the budget with the breakdown as follows: Statutory transfer – N502.58 billion, debt service – N2.25 trillion, recurrent expenditure – N4.65 trillion and capital expenditure – N2.94 trillion.

The Senate also approved a N10 billion fund to be drawn from the service-wide vote to assist victims of Zamfara crisis as approved earlier in plenary.

The lawmakers also adopted the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

A daily production rate of 2.3 million barrels at $60 per barrel was also adopted, as suggested by the executive.

The Senate immediately communicated changes made to the budget to the House of Representatives to  stave off the need for a conference committee and avoid delay in final passage of the bill.

The N8.83 trillion budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 19, 2018.

Similarly, the House of Representatives toed the same path with the Senate and passed the N8.9 trillion budget.

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