The Appropriations Committee chairman said the National Assembly will not approve a budget that is inflated by the cost of governance as against driving infrastructure.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will present the 2024 budget estimates to the National Assembly in November, for scrutiny and eventual passage.
The National Assembly will also receive Federal Government the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy (FSP) from the Federal Government next week for scrutiny.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Solomon Olamilekan (APC, Ogun West), hinted this at the inaugural meeting of the committee on Wednesday.
He said, “We have it on good authority that the supplementary budget would be sent by the Executive in the next couple of hours to the National Assembly.
“Also in about a week or two weeks later, the President will be presenting the 2024 Appropriation bill to the National Assembly. As such, I find it very important to call for an inaugural meeting so that we can know ourselves.”
On the issue of delay in the presentation of the documents, the lawmaker reminded that the Tinubu administration just came on board, which is a factor that should be considered.
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He, however, assured that despite a delay in the presentation of the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the National Assembly will do a thorough job and pass it on time without altering the current budget cycle.
“I want you to take cognisance of the change of government on May 29. So, there is a teething problem. But, the new administration has a new mantra that encapsulates its vision and there must be challenges. We will do a thorough job on the budget.
“Our job is to verify the budget to meet the expectations of the people. We will look into it thoroughly.
“We are expecting the MTEF next week and immediately we receive the document, the Committee on Finance will go into work and look into it.
“The Finance Minister and the Minister of Budget and Planning are working round the clock.
“I assure you that we won’t break the tradition, we will have the budget as at when due. We will keep to the tradition of the January to December budget cycle.”
While dismissing the issue of budget padding, Olamilekan explained that a budget “has to do with nomination of projects to the budget document that will meet the yearnings and the needs of the people, I would not regard that as padding.
“It is still part of government document we look into and it has an expectation. Budget is an estimate but implementation is another thing. So I don’t believe in budget padding, it never exists in my dairy.”
The lawmaker further assured that the National Assembly will not approve a budget that is inflated by the cost of governance as against driving infrastructure.
He said, “It would not be business as usual. We won’t support a government where 72% of the budget will be spent on the cost of running the government and only 28 percent will now be spent on driving the infrastructure.
“We will rather prefer a budget that 55 to 60% is spent on driving infrastructure to the people and 40% is spent on the budget,” Olamilekan submitted.