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Presidential jet, supplementary budget top agenda, as Senate holds emergency plenary, Thursday

Senate reviews 2023 Finance Act to tax banks’ foreign gains

The Senate will hold an emergency sitting Thursday to, amongst other issues, consider the purchase of new jets for the use of the
President, as well as supplementary budget.

BusinessDay sources close to the National Assembly revealed that the emergency sitting will address “several national issues, including appropriation matters”.

The source said “ There are strong indications that the Upper Chamber may consider the 2024 supplementary appropriation during this session”.

Recall that the federal government has for sometimes mulled the idea of a supplementary budget to address the issues of Minimum Wage, as the government plans to replace the 2019 Minimum Wage Act, which expired in April, 2024.

Following the development, the Senate, which has been on a three-week recess since June 11, was initially scheduled to resume on Tuesday, July 2, 2024.

With this development, however, the resumption date has been brought forward, to deal with the issues of national importance.

BusinessDay also gathered that the federal government has been working behind the scene to get the National Assembly approve funds for the purchase of two new Presidential jets, as the President’s 19-year-old Boeing 737 and some of the other aircraft in the fleet, have become dysfunctional.

If the supplementary budget stakes through, the federal government will have to cough out as much as $623.4m or N918.7bn, for the purchase of the new aircrafts

A Presidency source who spoke on the need for a new jet for the President, noted that the President had in recent times been forced to travel in chattered flights due to the dilapidated states of the aircraft in the Presidential air fleet PAF
“ The President in his recent trip to South Africa, had to go by a chattered flight and this is not good for the country’s image

“Like somebody said recently, Nigerians will not want any harm to befall Mr. President because we neglected to acquire a befitting jet for his movement”

Our source recalled how Vice President Kashim Shettima was forced to abort a trip to represent the President Tinubu at the US -Africa business summit

He also recalled how the President was forced to also use a commercial aircraft on his way to Saudi Arabia after President’s Boeing 737 jet was grounded for rehabilitation in The Netherlands

Yemi Adaramodu, the spokesperson for the Senate, had disclosed that President Bola Tinubu will send the 2024 supplementary budget to the National Assembly for approval upon their resumption.

When asked about the reason for the emergency session, Adaramodu did not provide specific details but mentioned that the Chambers will “deal with issues concerning our further oversight on the Appropriations and clear further the hanging issues of constitutional and electoral concerns.”

He added that the Senate aims to clear outstanding bills and motions before its annual recess later this year.

“It’s our statutory resumption from the Sallah break. Senate has the constitutional power to regulate its sessions and we believe that we could gain one more Legislative day to deal with national and constitutional issues, hence the bringing forward from the initial July” he added.