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Senate urges committee to submit report on extra budget today

Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday directed the Senate Committee on Appropriations to submit the report on the N895 billion Supplementary Budget, unfailingly today.

The directive followed a request by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Barau Jibrin, for more time to enable the panel conclude its work.

Barau said: “We were given the mandate to submit the report today (Tuesday). I want to inform this distinguished Senate that we started work on the Bill.

“We discovered that we needed more time because we feel we must meet the minimum standard set out by the rules of this Senate in processing the Bill.

“The expected time we feel we will be able to do this is this week and then get our report submitted on Tuesday next week.

“I appeal that this distinguished Senate to permit us to submit our report next Tuesday.”

Responding, Lawan said: “Chairman (Barau), you will not have more than today.

“This is a very straightforward Supplementary Budget request. So, it doesn’t need two weeks to work on it.

“And you remember, we have a lineup of so many important Bills to consider in this Senate.”

Also, the Senate yesterday passed N329,963,491,523.00 as 2021 budget for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The passage followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on FCT, which handled the Appropriation Bill, 2021.

Committee Chairman Abubakar Kyari said from the total expenditure of N329,963,491,523.00, the sum of N74,323,382,813 is for Personnel Costs; N58,728,614,466 is for Overheads; and N196,911,494,243 for Capital Expenditure.

He said the overall performance of the FCT 2020 budget allocation was 88 per cent as at December 31, 2020.

Senators approved that the FCT Budget be passed for third reading, after a clause-by-clause consideration at plenary.

Also, the Senate yesterday passed the Proceeds of Crime Bill for second reading.

The legislation, titled: “A Bill for an Act to provide for a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the recovery and management of proceeds of crime or benefits derived from unlawful activities, harmonize and consolidate the legal provisions on the recovery of proceeds of crime and related matters, 2021” was sponsored by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).

In his lead debate, Abdullahi noted that the country had been striving to put in place an appropriate Proceeds of Crime legislation since 2007.

He said efforts to develop a comprehensive Bill had been impeded by agency rivalry since 2011.

Senators, in their contributions, supported the Bill and approved that it be read a second time when it was put to voice vote by Senate President Ahmad Lawan, at plenary.

Lawan referred the Bill to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative work and to report back in two weeks.

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