*Begins hearing sessions next week
*Adjourns till Dec.12
By Andrew Oota
Senate has passed for a second reading , N27.5trillion 2024 money Bill presented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Nov 29, for approval of National Assembly.
The bill was was refered to the Senate committee on Appropriation for final work which is collation of figures from the various committees after budget defense sessions.
The lawmakers, at the resumed debate called for increased funding for road infrastructure, education, power, agriculture, among other sectors in the country.
They also called for a reduction in borrowing and improved budgetary provision for security and sustenance of peace in the Niger- Delta for improved crude oil production.
In his contribution, Senator Adams Oshiomole (APC -Edo) said there was need for appropriations to be made for the completion of the Benin-Auchi road,saying that the road was a major link connecting Nigerians from the six geo-political zone.
He argue that the eventual completion of the road would further help improve economic activities.
Oshomhole pointed out that it was not for the Senate to be debating exchange rate, saying that determinants of exchange rate was a matter of micro economic policies.
For Senator Franchis Fadahunsi (PDP-Osun), he commended the 2024 budget estimates said there was need for the masses to benefit from the content of the budget on implementation.
Senator Fadahunsi called for allocation of more funds to ensure completion of roads in in Osun state and other parts of the federation.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe(APGA-Abia)said not much was allocated to power as information indicates that less than 3 per cent was allocated to power in the budget.
He said power was key to employment generation and optimal workings of other sectors and the economy in general.
He said the Senate would have to re-order the priorities in the budget for direct impact on the economy, going forward.
Other Senators, who emphasised need to appropriate more funds for road infrastructure, and improve educational systems among others sectors include Senator Oluranti Adebule(APC-Lagos) Senator Aba Moro(PDP-Benue).
Senator Moro said allocation to education should be based on UNESCO provisions, given the challenges in the education sector.
On his part, the former President of Senate, Senator Ahmad lawan commended President Tinubu for the budget.
According to Lawan, the success of any administration was based on the support the legislature gives to the executive, saying that the National Assembly must continue to give support to the President Tinubu.
He called on the senate committees to be interested on what happened on the implementation of previous budgets of 2021,2022,2023 both supplementary and main budget.
Senator Lawan said emphasis must be placed on having a secured safe school for schools to function, and provision of enabling peace in Niger-Delta.
He called for prioritisation of security in 2024 budget, saying that security was key in attaining the required economic activities.
Last week, both the senate and the house of representatives approved the 2024-2026 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and fiscal strategy paper (FSP), the parameters on which the 2024 appropriation bill will be framed.
The lawmakers approved $73.96, $73.76 and $69.90 per barrel as benchmark oil prices for daily crude oil production of 1.78 million barrels, 1.80 million barrels, and 1.81 million barrels, for 2024, 2025, and 2026 respectively.
Also, the parliament approved an exchange rate of N700/$, N665.61/$ and N669.79/$, as proposed by the federal government for the period 2024–2026.
Recall that President Tinubu, at his maiden budget presentation before the National Assembly said the proposed 2024 budget will ensure micro-economic stability, poverty reduction, and greater access to social security.
The president highlighted priority areas such as security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security.
Deputy President of Senate, Senator Barau Jubril, who concluded the proceedings referred the bill to Committee of Appropriations.
The committee is to return back to plenary on December 19 for further legislative input on the bill.