The National Assembly Wednesday finalised arrangements for the passage of the 2020 budget with the submission of reports by the Committees on Appropriation of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
However, going by the reports of the two committees, the nation’s expenditure profile for the new fiscal year would be higher than the N10.33 trillion President Muhammadu Buhari proposed to the legislature.
While the Senate Committee on Appropriation increased the budget proposal by an additional N450 billion to bring it to N10.78 trillion, its House counterpart raised the budget proposal by over N260 billion to bring it to N10.59 trillion.
The Senate, however, has confirmed its readiness to consider and pass the 2020 federal budget represented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 8.
Its committee on Appropriation at plenary yesterday presented the 2020 budget report to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Its Chairman, Senator Barau Jibrin, at plenary laid the budget report, which is to be debated and passed today. A ranking senator from the North Central Zone and member of the committee told THISDAY that the committee in the course of its work in the last one month tinkered with the final figure of the N10.33trillion 2020 budget proposal sent to the National Assembly.
The senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the committee increased the 2020 budget proposed by government by additional N450 billion.
According to him, some of the sectoral allocations were adjusted and at the end of the day based on presentations by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) the budget had to be increased from N10.11 trillion to N10.56 trillion.
He stated that copies of the bulky budget document had since been circulated among all senators in preparation for the budget debate today.
THISDAY further learnt that the only agenda that will be on Senate Order Paper will be consideration of the budget report.
The budget report will be considered at Senate plenary by Committee of the Whole headed by the Chairman, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, through a clause by clause perusal of the proposal before being passed by the upper chamber.
The Senate also yesterday amended the Public Procurement Act 2007 and increased mobilisation fee of local contractors from 15 to 30 per cent.
The passage of the Public Procurement bills by the upper chamber was sequel to presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Public Procurement.
The three amendment bills were sponsored by Senators Shuaibu Isah, Uche Ekwunife and Danladi Sankara.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shuaibu Isah Lau, in his presentation, said certain amendments were made on the bills to encapsulate the ingredients of the varied views collated from experts and professionals, aimed at adding value to the Procurement Act.
The Senate, in a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, adopted the recommendations of the committee with slight amendments made to Section 1 under the Establishment of National Council on Public Procurement.
The amendment to clause 1 of the bill provides that the Council shall consist of a chairman who shall be appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as against the previous provision of the 2007 Act, which specifically names the Minister of Finance as chairman.
The Senate also adopted the committee’s recommendation on the issuance of Certificate of No Objection, which shall be issued by a Committee of Directors of the Bureau to the chaired by the Director-General of the Public Procurement Bureau.
Similarly, the upper chamber considered the recommendation of the committee to review upwards the mobilization fee from 15 percent to 20 percent for local contractors as insufficient.
Accordingly, Section 35 of the Act was amended to provide for not more than thirty percent mobilization for local contractors.
The amendment for an upward review of thirty-five percent mobilization for local contractors was initially proposed by Senator Jibrin Barau and seconded by Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
The Senate, however, settled for a 30 percent review moved by Senator Abba Moro and seconded by Senator Rose Oko.
In his remarks, the Senate president said that the passage of the Public Procurement Bill would complement the 2020 budget set to be passed today by the Senate.
According to Lawan, the Public Procurement bill passed by the Senate would be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
House Jacks Estimates Up by N260bn
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has also increased the 2020 budget proposal from N10.33 trillion to N10.59 trillion, an increase of over N260 billion.
The report was laid before the House at the plenary on Wednesday by the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Muktar Batara.
The report, which was read by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is expected to be passed today and given the disparities between the figures from the two chambers, ammonisation would have to be done by a conference of the two.