At Senate, hearing on new minimum wage suffers setback, budget debate set to begin, 3 months after

The Senate on Tuesday resolved to commence debate on general principles of the N8.83trillion 2019 budget on Wednesday, nearly three months after its presentation to the joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is as the Upper legislative chamber postponed final consideration of the N30,000 minimum wage to Tuesday next week on account of absence of the Chairman of the Ad- hoc committee , Senator Olusola Adeyeye ( APC Osun Central) , saddled with the responsibility .

Announcement on commencement of debate on general principles of the 2019 budget was made by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, before ruling on motion for plenary suspension moved by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC Yobe North).

Lawan had before Saraki informed senators to get ready for commencement of debate on general principles of the 2019 budget on Teusday, called for suspension of plenary and other parliamentary activities to honour Hon Temitope Olatoye who was assassinated in Ibadan  on Saturday .

But Saraki before ruling on the motion, announced to the Senators to get prepared for commencement of debate on general principles of the 2019 budget .

“Senators are by this notice, get prepared for the debate and indicate their intension for that through the Clerk.

“Apart from the budget, I will also want the Ad- hoc committee on minimum wage to complete it’s work this week and submit report to the Senate on Tuesday next week unfailingly.

“In getting this done, since the Chairman of the committee, Senator Olusola Adeyeye has travelled out , the Deputy Whip of the Senate,  Senator Francis Alimekhena ( APC Edo North), should please take over the chairmanship of the committee and get the report submitted on Tuesday next week ” , he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, presented the budget estimates for expeditious consideration by the federal lawmakers.

The President while making the presentation,  appealed to the federal lawmakers at both chambers i. e,  the Senate and the House of Representatives to give the Appropriation Bill expeditious consideration and passage in returning the country back to January to December yearly budgetary circle for clear cut measurement and assessment of its implementation on quarterly basis .

“It is my hope that despite our current preoccupation with political activities, we can all commit to an early passage of this budget in the larger interest of our people and the national economy , particularly in returning  the yearly budget circle to January to December for clear cut assessment and evaluation of its implementation on quarterly basis”, he  said.

Similar appeal was also made by the President  to the federal lawmakers on Tuesday, 7th November, 2017, when he made  presentation of  N8.6trillion 2018 budget proposals to them which was later jerked up to N9.12trillion seven months after,  precisely in May last year when it was eventually passed .

But three solid months down the line now, neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives , has passed the budget for second reading which will give room for defence sessions between the various standing committees at both chambers and heads of the various Ministries , Departments and Agencies ( MDAs).

As it is now, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have just five weeks left to consider, pass and transmit the Appropriation bill for President for assent before expiration of his current tenure on May 28, 2019.

Specifically, the bill going by laid down procedures,  must be  transmitted to the President for assent latest by 28th of April so as to allow for 30 days duration since the current tenure of the President ends on May 28, 2019 .

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