• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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The 2024 budget passes second reading at Senate

The 2024 Budget Appropriation Bill has scaled second reading at the Senate.

The bill was passed during a plenary session presided over by Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin after it received strong support from majority of the senators through a voice vote.

Following this development, Barau referred the budget to the Senate Committee on Appropriation for further legislative input. The committee has been directed to report back to the upper chamber by December 19.

Read also: Reps adjourns plenary till December 12, for 2024 budget defence

This comes two days after President Bola Tinubu presented the N27.5 trillion budget to a joint session of the National Assembly. The budget had initially passed its first reading at both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, triggering debates on its general principles.

Notable allocations in the 2024 budget proposal include N2.18 trillion for education, with significant portions designated for the Ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

The health sector secured N1.33 trillion, while the defence sector obtained 12 per cent of the entire budget, totalling N3.25 trillion. Infrastructure received an allocation of N1.32 trillion.

During the debates, Salihu Mustapha, representing Kwara Central, emphasized the need for a focus on agriculture. Mustapha urged President Tinubu to prioritize local manufacturing of agricultural products, emphasizing the importance of skill acquisition for domestic production.

Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa West expressed concerns about the budget’s lack of emphasis on road construction. He called on lawmakers to allocate more funds for addressing bad roads, particularly in the East-Western part of the country. Dickson also advised President Tinubu to allocate funds to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

While Emmanuel Udende of Benue North-east acknowledged the merits of the budget, highlighting improved sectoral allocations compared to previous budgets

Enyinnaya Abaribe of Abia South raised concerns about the budget’s inadequate attention to the challenges of the power sector.

Read also: Senate passes N57bn Police Trust Fund budget

Abaribe noted that only three percent of the total budget was allocated to address power-related issues.

The ongoing discussions in the National Assembly so far is a mixbag of praise and criticisms.