…As Senate Receives 2018 Budget Report

0
402

The Senate yesterday received the report of Committee on Appropriation on the 2018 budget estimates.
The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Danjuma Goje, laid the report before the Senate in plenary, six months after it was presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate and House of Representatives had promised to pass the budget on April 24, but failed to do so.
There were equally assurances that the budget would be passed in the first week of May but it was not passed.
The Senate had on several occasions accused Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of not keeping to appointments with the various standing committees to defend their budgets.
Subsequently, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, on April 12, mandated the Appropriation Committee to tidy up reports on the budget latest by April 13.
With this development, the January to December budget cycle would not be obtainable with the 2018 budget.
Buhari had on November 7, 2017 presented a budget of N8.6 trillion before a joint session of the National Assembly.
The president who announced the 2018 budget as “Budget of Consolidation”, said the projected expenditure would drive rapid economic recovery.
He said at the session that with a benchmark of 45 dollars per barrel at an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar in 2018, the budget would consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets to aggressively steer the economy to the path of steady growth.
In another development, the Senate, yesterday pleaded with the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) to call off the over three weeks strike it embarked on which has affected the health sector across the country.
The union had on April 18, embarked on industrial action due to the “insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude of drivers of the health sector”.
The Senate’s resolution was sequel to a motion on “Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Need to Take Precautionary Measures” by Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos) during plenary.
The upper chamber also urged the Minister of Interior to take necessary steps to check immigration.
It further urged the Minister of Health to ensure alertness to combat whatever cases that might arise and get Ebola vaccines ready for an emergency
Tinubu recalled that an infected immigrant, Mr Patrick Sawyer who arrived Nigeria in July 23, 2014 was notable for been the index case for the introduction of Ebola virus into Nigeria.
Tinubu, who is Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment said the tide, as at then, was stemmed by quick response of the government.
She said that recent reports by the WHO, showed that the disease was back in neighboring Congo with 19 deaths and 39 infected casualties recorded so far.
“The WHO states that Nigeria and other African countries are at risk of spread.
The lawmaker said that unless hospitals were prepared properly and equipped with Ebola vaccines, it would be an epidemic Nigeria might be unable to take on.
Contributing, Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Olushola Adeyeye called on the Senate to intervene for a quick resolution of the ongoing strike by health workers
On his part, Sen. Victor Umeh (APGA-Anambra) noted that “prevention of the disease was better than cure.
“We must ensure that Nigeria is not taken unawares again. We should be on the alert,” he said.
In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki, said all stakeholders must ensure adequate steps were taken to forestall any occurrence.