The Nigerian Senate may have laid to rest the issue of the “purported” missing 2016 budget proposal, following an announcement by the Senate President that copies of the document will be distributed to all Senators tomorrow, Thursday, January 14.
The Senate President further confirmed that debate on the appropriation bill would begin on Tuesday 19, through to 21 January.
He advised each Senator to indicate a day they wished to make contributions when the scheduled consideration begins.
There was a mild drama however, when Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP representing Abia South) raised a point of order demanding an explanation on the status of the budget proposal.
His point of order was based on series of enquiries by members of his constituency who he said had been flooding his office via telephone, text messages and emails requesting the whereabouts of their budget.
In response, the Senate President told Senator Abaribe, “distinguished Senator Abaribe, you were in the Executive session we held yesterday (referring to Tuesday) where we set up a committee and assigned a responsibility with terms of reference. Let us wait for the committee to conclude and submit its report, then we take it from there”.
Chairman of the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo West) later confirmed that the Senate was indeed handling an issue that was controversial. He however said everything would be resolved by Thursday before they reconvene for plenary.
Another member of the committee, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North) corroborated Senator Anyanwu’s position when he said the entire episode surrounding the “missing budget will be over in a matter of hours”.
Both Senators declined further comments on the issue until the committee’s investigation is concluded.
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, officially set up the National Council on Public Procurement to give life and meaning to the Public Procurement Act, so as to achieve the laudable objectives for which the Act came into being.
The resolution was the major outcome of the debate on a motion focusing on the urgent need to empanel the National Council on Public Procurement of Nigeria, co-sponsored by Senator Theodore Orji (PDP, Abia Central) and Senator Ali Ndume (Senate Leader).
President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki on Wednesday inaugurated the special ad-hoc committee for the review of the 1999 constitution.
The committee which is bi-partisan has its membership drawn from all the states of the Federation and the six geopolitical zones.
Inaugurating the committee, the Senate President urged the members to demonstrate their commitment to the advancement of the country by ensuring that the report of the exercise is submitted by June, 2016.
The constitution review committee is to be chaired by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu.