Nigeria’s Senate and the House of Representatives passed for second reading, the 2024 Appropriation Bill laid before the two chambers of the National Assembly by President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday.
The Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, who presided over the plenary, said the lawmakers would reconvene on December 12.
He said the Committee on Appropriation, chaired by Senator Solomon Adeola, would begin work immediately by drawing a timetable for other panels to interact with agencies under their supervision.
Barau, said the Senate would receive the report of the appropriation panel on December 19.
By the arrangement, the consideration of the appropriation panel report may be considered and passed same day and the Senate likely to be adjourned for the Christmas and New Year break immediately.
In their various contributions during the debate on the general principles of the budget, the lawmakers stressed the need to ensure adequate provision for the security, health, education and infrastructure were duly provided for in the N27.5 trillion budget size.
The former President of the Senate in the 9th National Assembly, Senator Ahmad Lawan, and other lawmakers, said attention should be focused on insecurity and power.
Lawan, said the power sector should be properly handled in the budget by providing data support for power.
He said, “The last National Assembly passed the Power Sector Reform Bill at its twilight and it was assented to by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The power sector reform would give us the necessary energy we need through a public-private participation to make power available for our economy to provide growth and development.”
Ruling on the submissions of the lawmakers during the debate, Barau said all the aspects spoken on by his colleagues had been adequately taken care of by the 2024 appropriation bill.
Barau emphasised the importance of the power sector, saying without power, other sectors would not perform optimally.
He urged all the chairmen of committees to factor in all issues raised by the senators in their various reports to the committee on Appropriation.
Meanwhile before it adjourned plenary, the Senate passed the N61, 553, 778, 259.93 billion FCT 2023 supplementary budget after endorsing the joint report of the Senate committee on FCT and the House of Representatives Committee.
Also on Friday, the House of Representatives passed the N27.5 trillion appropriation bill 2024 for second reading.
The House at a special sitting presided over by the Speaker, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, also assured that the budget would be passed before the year runs out.
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Appropriation by the Speaker for further legislative action.
The House would on December 4, organise a citizens’ budget townhall on the budget presentation and appropriation process to harness public inputs and opinion.
The House has also resolved to suspend plenary for two weeks to make way for budget defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) before relevant House committee.
Also, a joint sitting of relevant Committees of Senate and the House to examine the economic feasibility, allocation and utilisation of funds and sustainability of proposed fiscal policies is scheduled to hold on December 5, 2023.
Adedayo Akinwale and Sunday Aborisade in Abuja