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Senate fixes Feb. 25 to pass Budget

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

The Senate yesterday fixed February 25 for the passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

The bill scaled second reading in the Senate.

The bill was committed to the Committee on Appropriation to coordinate budget defence by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.

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

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

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.

“As of 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 said the Senate would also take a look at the issue of benchmark and various budgetary allocations, where most senators expressed concern.

He assured that the National Assembly would also work towards blocking areas of revenue leakages as well as look into the issue of fight against corruption.

He added: “It is important that the issue of blocking leakages is key and from the experience of the past we must learn from the past to work towards the future.

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