NASS to pass 2018 budget April 24

Strong indications emerged yesterday that the National Assembly will on April 24, 2018, pass the 2018 budget, Blueprint can authoritatively report.
The decision to pass the budget on the said date, was reached last week during a meeting of the Senate Caucus of the All Progressives Congress and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling party.
According to a source who was present at the meeting, the leadership of the National Assembly, led by Senator Bukola Saraki, was swayed by the Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, to pass the budget following concerns raised over the lingering feud between the executive arm of government and the National Assembly.
NASS had vowed to suspend consideration of nominations forwarded to it, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to adopt the Senate’s resolution on Ibrahim Magu’s nomination as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimea Commission.
Also, the upper chamber had severally blamed heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government for the delayed passage of the 2018 budget due to their refusal to appear before relevant committees to defend their budget estimates.
Accordingly, the upper chamber issued a couple of deadlines to defaulting heads of MDAs to appear before its committees to defend this year’s budget or risk zero allocation by the National Assembly.
But Oyegun, sensing the implication which NASS’ position could have on the passage of the budget, prevailed on lawmakers of the upper chamber to pass the 2018 appropriations bill latest by April 24.
According to our source who was privy to the meeting, the APC chair expressed worry that the position of the Senate will on the long run affect the performance of the 2018 budget as well as interfere with the implementation of capital projects.
Odigie-Oyegun, the source continued, also expressed worry over the party’s fate at the polls next year, as the feud between the two arms of government linger.
He, therefore, urged the APC Senate caucus to hasten legislative work on the 2018 budget and ensure passage of same on or before April 24 deadline, to ensure its implementation starting from May 31, 2018, if the party must cover grounds on its economic targets for the nation.

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