Mustapha Dawaki

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Harmonised report of the 2019 Appropriation bill with an increase of N90,327,519,458.

President Muhammadu Buhari proposed a budget of N8,826,636,578,915 at a joint sitting on 18 December, 2018 but the House passed a budget of 8,916,964,098,373 on Tuesday.

The clause-by-clause consideration and adoption of the report carried out at the Committee chaired by Speaker Yakubu Dogara witnessed no dissenting voice from the floor.

Each of the clauses was carried with the banging of the gavel by the Chairman of the Committee even before the lawmakers could voice their decision.

The lawmakers were silent through most of the clauses.

Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Mustapha Dawaki (APC, Kano) while briefing journalists after the passage of the bill, said the jerk up of the initial proposed budget was as a result of the omission of some critical items not captured by the presidency.

He said a major increase was done on deficit whereby the fiscal deficit had to be increased to N1.906 trillion with N53b.

He said: “This is because there are so many outstanding items not captured in the proposal. For instance, there was a Senate resolution for special intervention of N10b in Zamfara due to the crisis that occurred there.

“Also not captured but equally critical was the severance benefits of outgoing legislators and their aides.

“This severance packages always occurred once in four years, in the transition years and this amounted to N24.6b.

“N3b was also included in the budget for the payment of allowances arrears of legislative aides it was not also captured initially.

“We also provided additional funds for security agencies across board because we believed that more funds would improve the discharge of their responsibilities.

“All these were captured under Capital Supplementation from Service Wide vote”.

He also confirmed the parliament did not find it economically expedient to alter benchmarks proposed by the Presidency.

On why the passage of the bill came this late in the year since the N8,826,636,578,915 proposal was transmitted to the National Assembly on 18 December, 2018, the lawmaker said Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) should be blamed as they refused to turn up for budget defense and presentation sessions.

He also noted that several break necessitated by festive periods and the general elections also contributed to the delay

He said the document would be transmitted to President Muhammad Buhari on Wednesday for assent.

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