In a stormy closed-door session yesterday, the Senate resolved to persuade President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2016 budget and later submit an amendment proposal to the National Assembly to correct identified lapses.
The meeting, which was characterised by massive criticisms of the manner in which the budget was processed by the appropriation committees of the National Assembly, was said to have resolved to give President Buhari 30 days within which to consider the request of the National Assembly and sign the budget.
And amid the raging controversy over the fiscal plan, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) has appealed that the budget impasse between the Presidency and the National Assembly be resolved quickly to check the negative economic effects of the delay in the signing of the document.
Senators who spoke off the record shortly after the closed-door session disclosed that it was an opportunity for frank discussions on the crisis rocking the Senate because of the budget.
Members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, who complained against what they called an undemocratic approach to the appropriation process, drew attention of their colleagues to specific lapses which resulted from the mishandling of the process.
It was learnt that a major decision at the meeting was that serious and conclusive measures should be taken by both the National Assembly and executive arm of government to make the 2016 budget ready for implementation.
At the meeting, it was said to have been observed that because time was no longer on the side of government on the need to kick-start the economy, no stone should be left unturned to facilitate the signing of the budget into law.
Yesterday’s closed-door session was convened by the Senate leadership to brief the lawmakers of an earlier decision taken by the body of principal officers of the National Assembly on Wednesday night….