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2016 Budget scales second reading in Senate

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

The controversial 2016 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday scaled second reading in the Senate as Senators concluded debate on the general principles of the bill.

The Bill was thereafter committed to the Committee on Appropriation to coordinate budget defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his concluding remarks warned senators against financial inducement in the course of budget defence by MDAs.

He said any lawmaker involved in unwholesome conduct in the course of budget defence would not be spared.

The Senate President said the Senate would not tolerate conducts capable of undermining the integrity of the Chamber.

On the general principles of the budget, Saraki said the proposal was a major departure from past budgets, particularly with regard to withdrawing focus on oil as major revenue source for funding the budget.

He said, “This to me and to all of us is the most important area of this budget in the sense that it will be a great foundation not only for today but for the future if this can be achieved.

“Also, with the pegging of capital expenditure at 30 per cent, a number of comments were made about the level of borrowing, but I think what matters is what the money is used for.

“On the percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), we are still within the limits and parameters, but what is important is to ensure that the money is judiciously used for what it is meant for.”

Saraki noted the National Assembly would take a critical look at the budgetary allocation to the agricultural and solid mineral sectors because they were potential revenue earners if effectively explored.

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