Senate rejects FCT N98.5bn supplementary budget request

 

From Abuja, Kenneth Udeh

The Senate turned down a request made by the Federal Capital Territory which sought the approval of Supplementary Appropriation sum of N98,500,000,000 (Ninety Eight Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira), citing lack of transparency on the sourcing and allocation of the funds.

 

The bill read the first time on Wednesday, 15th May, 2024 was reintroduced by its sponsor Senate Leader Opeyemi Bamidele, was during a plenary session for consideration and a second reading on Wednesday.

Bamidele explained that the Supplementary budget will accommodate additional inflow from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), resulting to a revised total FCT-IRS 2024 Statutory Revenue Appropriation to the sum of N348,720,000,000 (Three Hundred and Forty Eight Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty Million Naira) only.

He emphasized that the FCT 2024 Supplementary Budget is to consolidate on the magnitude and scope of the ongoing projects simultaneously within the City Centre and across the six Area Councils in the Territory. He said ” to ensure that the vision of the renewed hope mantra for a befitting Capital City for Nigeria and Nigerians is accordingly achieved”.

 

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu urged the Senate to grant the request. The Abia-North Lawmaker commended the level of infrastructure development in the city under the administration of FCT Minister Nyesom Wike.

He urged other Ministers to emulate Wike , Kalu also urged the Senate to monitor the expenditures made by the former Rivers State Governor.

He said; “When you drive through Abuja the development I’m seeing here in the last six to 9 months is what I’ve never seen before. I saw that the NIA bridge has been tarred. There is no reason why the Senate should not pass this budget. The minter has shown capacity and a top skill to work. I will urge other Ministers who are sleeping to work like Wike.

Resistance to the bill started when Delta Central Senator Ede Dafinone drew the attention of the Senators saying that the bill lacked details of the previously approved and proposed funds..

“It does not give us any clarification or usage of the funds, we are given only two generic headings which are Total Revenue Proposed and Total Expenditure Proposed, ” Dafinone complained.

In a similar vein Senator Sani Musa representing Niger East, noted that the bill’s presentation violated the traditional procedure for money Bills, which requires a detailed breakdown of expenditures, revenue sources, and previous budget performance.

“We should do it in the right way that the budget is supposed to come with details of the expenditure. What is the source of the revenue, what is the performance of the previous budget approved, sani queried.

Osita Isunazo, the lawmaker representing Imo West, acknowledged the progress of ongoing projects in the FCT but emphasized the need for more detailed information.

 

Observations raised by the Lawmakers were accepted by Bamidele who later informed them the Chairman Senate Committee on FCT Mohammed Bomai had in his possession the budget breakdown but were yet to be photocopied for distribution to other lawmakers.

“To my surprise the chairman of the committee, Bomai, came up with a breakdown of the budget. what was given to me after the presentation cannot be claimed to have been given to the Senate. Let the chairman make photocopies and share to all the colleagues.

 

Godswill Akpabio, the Senate President concurred that the Bill lacked the necessary details for the Senate to proceed with the debate. He then put the bill to voice vote, and the majority voted against reading the bill for the second time, resulting in a minor uproar.

Bamidele, the bill’s sponsor and other Senators approached the Senate President. He then conceded that the Bill did not provide sufficient information for a proper debate.

Consequently, the Bill was down until a detailed breakdown was provided.

 

 

 

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