• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Senate directs FCT to submit 2023 budget or risk zero allocation

The dawn of a new order

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday began deliberations on the 2023 budget, with a directive to Mohammed Bello, minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to make the FCT budget proposal available by next week or risk zero allocation for next year.

The directive followed the late submission of the FCT 2022 budget of N607.962 billion; a development the lawmaker said will not be allowed for the 2023 budget. The FCT 2022 budget proposal got to the Senate yesterday, less than three months to the end of the fiscal year.

Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto East) presented the FCT 2022 budget proposal to the Senate for second reading, with James Manager (PDP Delta South), demanding it to be stopped.

“Mr President, if I heard the Senate leader right, the N607 billion appropriation bill presented for second reading, is for FCT and to be implemented in the 2022 fiscal year, which is less than three months to roll away.

“This is unfortunate, and must be stopped. What have the people saddled with the drafting of the proposals been doing since January? Are they aware that we are already in the 10th month of the year?” He queried.

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To prevent the rejection of the proposal, the senator representing the FCT, Philip Aduda, rose to tender an apology on behalf of the FCT minister. Aduda in his intervention said: “Mr President, it is unfortunate that the 2022 FCT budget is submitted for consideration in October but I seek the indulgence of this Senate to consider it by passing it for second reading as moved by the leader”.

Reacting, Ahmed Lawan, the president of the Senate, directed the chairman of the committee on FCT, Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West), to liaise with FCT minister, Muhammad Bello to ensure that the 2023 budget is submitted next week.

“What the FCT did by submitting its 2022 budget in October is not only unfortunate but unacceptable. This should not be accepted by us, but for the interest of innocent residents of the FCT, it will be considered.

“However, any such action by the FCT will not be accepted.

“In fact, as a warning in that direction, the FCT should unfailingly submit for consideration its proposed budget for 2023 next week or keep to itself.

“This Senate will no longer consider this type of approval seeking submissions in the 10th month of the year the budget proposals are meant for”, he said.

The breakdown of the N607.962 billion 2022 FCT budget grudgingly passed for second reading by the Senate are as follows: N76.569 billion for personnel cost; N138.199 billion for overhead, and N393.192 billion for capital projects.