Confusion In Senate Over Strange 2014 Budget Proposal

There was confusion in Senate on Thursday, 22nd May, 2014, over strange budget proposal for Security Exchange Commission (SEC), Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) among other 49 agencies.

Inside budget proposal distributed for the lawmakers for debate, N3.5 trillion was made available for the NNPC, CBN was to spend N255.2 billion on capital expenditure; N215,680 billion on personnel cost; and N98,730,196,000 billion on over head cost among others.

Senators argued that most of the proposals scheduled for considerations have already been captured in the N4.695 trillion national budget that was passed by the National Assembly.

The drama began when Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi, read the proposal of 2014 budget for consideration on the floor of the Senate.

Many senators were surprised and amazed because the agencies have appeared before their various standing committees apart from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).
The lawmakers said what they are expecting now is for President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the new budget and begin its implementation.

Senator James Manager said that most of the agencies have appeared before the committees of the Senate admitting that there some isolated case like that of Central Bank of Nigeria.

Raising a point of order vide Order 26 (6) of the Senate Standing Orders (2011, as amended), Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe said that the Senate has dealt with the matter of 2014 budget and there is no need to go back to it again.

But the Chairman of Senate Committee on Rules and Business informed the lawmakers that the document is from the Budget Office of the Federation of the Federal Ministry of Finance adding that the document came with the federal budget.

According to the document, CBN is to spend N255.2 billion on capital expenditure; N215.680 billion on personnel cost; and N98.730 billlion on over head cost among others.

For the NNPC, out of the N3.555 trillion budget for the year, personnel expenses will gulp N184.760 billion while N398.359 billion is for overhead cost. The corporation will spend N450.044 billion on capital expenditure.

In his response to the issue, the Senate President, Senator David Mark explained that the problem with the proposal is that the Committee on Rules and Business should have sieved some agencies that have been appropriated for by the National Assembly from 52 agencies before the committees begin work on it.

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