After weeks of delay, the Senate on Wednesday passed the 2016 budget into law following a motion for the passage of 2016 Appropriation of N6.07trn by the Chairman, Joint Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, seconded by Senator Andy Uba.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly did this having been satisfied with sectoral explanations to the extent that the nation stands to benefit if the proposal tabled before a joint sitting of the parliament last December is passed it into law.
Presenting a report on the budget, the Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje said that the budget was “full of controversy”, but that the senate would not want to delay its passage by adding more controversies to it.
Stressing that the committee had to work around the apparent lapses in the budget, he said that the delay in the passage of the budget had already been given a political hue; hence Nigerians would blame the legislature for any further delay.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented a total of N6.08trn budget, out of which N351bn was for statutory transfers, N2.8trn for recurrent expenditure and N1.8trn for capital expenditure. But, the Senate reduced the total budget sum from N6.07trn to N6.06trn: N351bn for statutory transfers, N1.4trn for debt service, N2.6trn for recurrent expenditure, and N1.5trn as capital expenditure.
Based on the recommendation of the committee, it adopted $38 per barrel crude oil benchmark for the budget, as proposed by the federal government and also settled for a foreign exchange rate of N197 per dollar as proposed by the government.
Also, the Senate observed that the budget was not presented in time to the National Assembly and urged the federal government to submit the budget subsequently in strict compliance with the Fiscal Policy Act.
It advised that there should be proper consultation between the budget office and the ministries, departments and agencies and requested the federal government to diversify its revenue base, and to shore up capital expenditure and reduce recurrent expenditure.