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2016 Budget Not Suspended, Set to be Passed Before March 31st

Contrary to insinua­tions in some quarters that the passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill has been suspended indefinitely, Leader of the Senate, Sen Ali Ndume yes­terday said that the Senate would endeavour to pass the 2016 Budget before the end of March which is the deadline for implementa­tion of the 2015 Budget.

Senator Ndume, who was fielding questions from journalists in Abuja, said that contrary to the earlier stand of the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Commit­tees on Appropriation that the passage of the budget has been suspended indefi­nitely, he said that though the February 25 may not be feasible again, the budget would, however, be passed before March ending.

According to him, it was the wish of the National As­sembly to pass the budget five weeks before the expira­tion of 2015 Budget implementation but due to some errors, it was now almost impossible.

We have not postponed it indefinitely; we are saying that with the developments in the consideration of the budget and as time goes on, the February 25 deadline we gave ourselves may not be realistic.

“That is why we now said that going by this, it is not possible to say we will come back on 25th and say this is the budget, but we are not saying that we have suspended it indefinitely.

“The reason we fixed 25th was because we wanted to have a gap of five weeks.
If there are issues here or there that still needs to be fixed before the expiration of the 2015 Budget implementation by March 31, we will finish it.

“We have a time frame and that is the determina­tion to get the budget out as soon as possible and by the grace of God, we will pass it before end of March.”

He said that the leader­ship of the National As­sembly had met with Min­isters to iron out the grey areas and make cor-rections to the contentious areas as well.

The Leader of the Senate also assured that the Senate would ensure strict compliance with the implemen­tation of the budget.
He said that once funds were available, he was con­vinced that the present administration would imple­ment the budget to the end.

According to Ndume: “This is the first time that the budget process is truth­ful, frank and honest and interactive: yesterday we had a long meeting with the ministers looking at the re­alities and challenges.