NASS may pass 2021 budget Dec. 10

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THE Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations are expected to turn in their report on the 2021 Appropriation Bill on Thursday.

Although some standing committees have yet to submit their reports on ministries, departments and agencies (MDGs), National Assembly would also not be holding a public hearing on the money bill this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Committees on Appropriations, which were to compile and harmonise the reports by the standing committees (sub-committees), were to lay their joint report on December 3, while the Senate and the House were to consider and pass the report on December 10.

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Fielding questions from newsmen yesterday, Vice-Chairman of House Committee on Appropriations, Iduma Igariwey said public hearing was aborted because of the COVID-19 situation; that was the main reason. It was difficult to find space that will contain the number of people we usually invite.

“We even thought of doing it via Zoom or whatever means but we also lack the facility to conduct that kind of public hearing. We even contemplated using the chamber but we concluded it was completely impossible to use the chamber for a public hearing.

That was the main reason and no other reason. It is not going to be held again for this year because of this same reason. As of last Friday, I will say that a good number of the committees had submitted their reports to the Appropriations Committee.

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“I think the most important thing; the take-home is that the National Assembly is likely going to turn in the budget for the President’s consent as required by the Constitution before the end of the year,” he said.

It will be recalled that Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had on October 20 said “everything has to be rounded off by December 3.” But he volte-faced on November 24 by decrying that no fewer than 40 standing committees had yet to present their reports to the House Committee on Appropriations.

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