… Senators tell senators to begin discussions on the general principles of the 2021 budget on Tuesday next week
… As senators talk about Buhari’s presentation of the 2021 appropriation bill
The Senate said Thursday that it has in no way suspended work on the Petroleum Industry Bill, GDP that was transmitted to it for consideration and subsequent approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate said that on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, it will debate GDP as it enters second reading.
Revealing this yesterday in Abuja before the adjournment of the plenary after the presentation of the 2021 Fund Allocation Bill to the National Assembly in a joint session by President Muhammadu Buhari, Speaker of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan said that hopes that early debate on the bill will avoid any delay in consideration, resulting from the upper house’s decision to suspend the Plenary for a month to allow the Ministries, Departments and Government Agencies to defend their respective budgets for the year 2021.
According to Lawan, the fundamental piece of legislation, after the debate in the legislators’ room, would go to second reading and would be referred to the Mixed Petroleum Committees; and Gas for future legislative work.
The president of the Senate said: “For the GDP, we need to take the document to our Mixed Commission before suspending the plenary, otherwise, the document will remain unattended during the entire time that we would be managing the budget; and that means we can only go back to it around November or December, and that would be late.
“Everyone is waiting for the GDP to be addressed, but we will take enough time to work on it because it is a very sensitive document.
“However, we should take the debate and the Second GDP Reading for the upper week, Tuesday 20, 2020, and forward the document to our Mixed Oil Committees (Upstream and Downstream); and Gas.
“So while we’re working on the budget, they can keep the job on hot GDP. We are not going to rush as we have the budget before us.
“Our Joint Committee should do everything possible so that we have a document or report that we would work with in the Senate and something that Nigerians and investors will be happy with.”
Also addressing reporters yesterday, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, the Congress of All Progressives, APC, Osun Central said: “Reuters sent a request for the PiB Senate to say that it would suspend work on the bill until next year due to budget, this is not true,
“The Senate is also committed to speedy passage of the bill because it is critical even for revenue generation and for placing our oil in the competitive international market.
“On October 20, the bill will enter its second reading, after which it will be sent to the corresponding commission of the Senate, which is the commission of the upstream downstream sector so that it is working on the 2021 appropriation, it will be worked on time on the invoice “.
Recall that GDP climbed the first reading in the Senate last week, an indication that the Senate has begun work on the bill.
Let us also recall that the leadership of the National Assembly, in the penultimate week, promised to accelerate legislative action on the Petroleum Industry Bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago.
The leadership of the National Assembly had also said that the 9th Assembly will break the bad luck of not being able to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill after several attempts.
However, the National Assembly had promised to ensure thoroughness in its consideration, which according to top officials, would be dealt with simultaneously with the 2021 national budget.
This was stated by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, during a joint leadership meeting of the National Assembly on GDP, with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timpre Sylva.
The two presidents had assured Nigerians that the time had come to pass the bill.
Speaking further, Senator Basiru, who revealed that work will begin on the 2021 appropriation bill that was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari next week, with copies of the budget available to senators, said : “We will ensure that copies of the presented budget are made available to senators no later than Monday, so on Tuesday the 23rd the senators will take turns discussing the principle of the budget and publicly making their views known and comments before sending it to the corresponding commission under the appropriation coordination. . “
Meanwhile, Senator Smart Adeyemi, APC, Kogi West, has praised President Buhari’s decision to complete the ongoing projects listed in the 2021 budget speech.
Adeyemi, who was reacting to Buhari’s presentation of the 2021 budget estimates at the joint session of the National Assembly, said the president’s approach to completing all the ongoing projects was fantastic.
The senator who noted that Buhari’s decision not to initiate new projects, until ongoing projects are completed, were rare attributes that were not associated with an average Nigerian politician, said: “A current Nigerian politician will not be thinking about complete ongoing projects, they will be thinking of new projects.
“If these projects are completed and we connect the north, south, west and east of the country, there will be a boom in economic activities.
Because economists are telling us that next year may not be too financially friendly and is a global problem.
“We may not feel the pain as much, because the policies that are required as a cushion for a global economic recession are already in black and white so people know that the government was aware of it.
“The prayer is that they let them implement everything they have said and in terms of policies, don’t look at the money, don’t look at the figure, look at the policy put in place to garvanize the country’s economic activities.
“Once you have a good road network in the country, a rail system and other infrastructure, these are key to the economic boom.”
For his part, Senator Obinna Ogba, PDP Ebonyi said he was happy that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that all ministers and heads of departments and ministries agencies (MDA) must come forward to defend their budgets before the National Assembly.
Ogba, who noted that this would help eradicate the reasons why budgets are late in approval, said the executive must provide a solution to the challenge of generating revenue in the country.
He said: “It is not that the country does not have income, but this income goes down the drain, what the country accounts for is not what is actually generated.
“An effort must be made to transfer all the money generated directly to the Federation Account and when it is done, it will be discovered that the issue of income will not be a problem in the country. “
The senator, who noted that he was surprised that the allocation of N100 billion as a zonal intervention fund has remained the same over the years, said: “I am surprised that the 100 billion allocated to zonal intervention projects for the 2021 budget estimates have not been increased.
“It has always been like this, I am surprised that it is not increased, that the fund for interventions has to be increased.
“Because what reaches my constituency is 200 million naira and when you come to my constituency you will see the projects, we did it with the money.
“In my community, where I come from, you cannot see the projects of the Federal Government apart from the projects of the constituency.”
For his part, Senator Yusuf Yusuf, APC, Taraba said: “It is a usual routine, but every year we do this, but as the president has emphasized that this time, it is a very challenging budget, a very challenging budget for the case, you know that we have a large amount of deficit and then our income does not sympathize with our expectations, we have the covid-19 challenge and many other challenges this time that we have to deal with.
“But I am pleased that we are all determined by the MDAs, by the National Assembly itself that we are going to work around the clock to make sure that we give Nigeria the budget that can be sustained, which can provide better value for the Nigerian people. . “
On loans, Senator Yusuf said: “As an economist, borrowing is not the problem, it is the use of the money you borrowed for. If we are going to use the money only to consume, then it will be very, very challenging, but if we are going to use the money for the purpose of generating more income, that means providing projects that are going to generate more income. So I think you know, it’s worth borrowing, but do we have a choice right now? It seems we don’t have the option.
“That’s why with the type of deficit that we have, with the type of income, it is necessary to borrow so that we can survive and then work so hard to ensure that what we borrow meets the terms of the loan.”