The Senate, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure early presentation of the 2021 appropriation bill to the National Assembly, to facilitate timely passage of the budget. The Senate also expressed its desire and readiness to receive the 2021 fiscal estimates by the end of September, so that the National Assembly could pass the bill before the end of 2020. The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated the expectation and position of the apex legislative chamber on the budget while presiding over the plenary session at the National Assembly complex, Abuja. Lawan spoke after referring President Buhari’s 2021–2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) request to the Senate Committees on Finance, and National Planning for further legislative action.
He directed the two committees to engage the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the MTEF/FSP document, stressing the need for the parliament to support the revenue generating agencies to meet the expected revenue targets of the government.
He said: “The request of Mr. President and C-in-C is referred to the two committees, Senate Committees on Finance; Budget and National Planning, with Finance as the lead committee. “This Senate is giving the committee four weeks within which to work very closely with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and particularly engagement with the revenue generating agencies where we are expecting them to meet their targets. “We need to ensure that they have all the support that they require from the National Assembly, particularly the Senate to meet their targets.
“Meanwhile, the executive should continue to work on the preparations for the 2021 budget, and by this, we are also equally committed to ensuring that we receive the budget estimates at the end of September and that we are able to consider the budget and get it passed before the end of December to repeat what we did for budget 2020.” The Senate President further mandated the committees to thoroughly work on the MTEF/ FSP documents and submit their report to the chamber within four weeks, for consideration and approval.