The Nigerian Senate has passed for second reading the proposed estimate of N27.5 trillion for 2024 fiscal year as presented to the National Assembly by President Bola Tinubu.
The upper legislative chamber passed the budget for further scrutiny after two days of extensive deliberation on its general principles with the Committee on Appropriation given till December 19 to report back to plenary for possible passage of the Budget at Third Reading.
Lawmakers at the resumed debate called for increased funding for road infrastructure, education, power, agriculture, among other sectors in the country.
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They also called for a reduction in borrowing and improved budgetary provision for security and peace in the oil rich Niger-Delta region for improved crude oil production. Lawmakers in their submission want the budget to centre on job creation, macro-economic stability and human capital development as well as security.
Other lawmakers want the Executive to focus on revenue generation to finance the high deficit of N9.8 trillion and debt service of N8.2 trillion. They pointed out that though the assumptions of daily crude oil production of 1.7 million barrels and crude oil benchmark of $ 77 per barrel are achievable the government must invest in safeguarding the country’s assets as well as curb oil theft in the oil rich Niger-delta region.
The Lawmakers commended the capital component of the budget which is pegged at N8.7 trillion higher than the recurrent expenditure. They affirmed that they will thoroughly scrutinise the estimates to ensure Nigerians benefit from the Renewed Hope Budget of the Federal Government.
Former President of the Senate, Ahmad lawan commended President Tinubu for the budget. He says the success of any administration is based on the support the legislature gives to the Executive, adding that the National Assembly must continue to give support to President Tinubu.
Lawan calls on the Senate committees to beam searchlight on the implementation of previous budgets of 2021, 2022 and 2023 including both supplementary and statutory budgets. He wants security to be prioritised in the 2024 budget.
After several hours of deliberation, the Senate passed the Budget for second reading with lawmakers expected to subject the document to proper scrutiny at public hearings with Ministries Departments and Agencies.
(Editor: Terverr Tyav)