By Matthew Denis
Business stakeholders in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Wednesday expressed disappointment over the delay in the passage of 2019 budget.
In his reaction,, the Chairman of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Kwara Chapter, Pastor Abel Aiyedogbon, said that the reading of budget is coming rather late.
He said ” It is rather late to still be debating on the budget of 2019 in March. Constitutionally, the President can appropriate certain percentage of the previous budget, but to me it is rather late to debate budget of a current year in March.
“That means we don’t know when it will eventually be passed at the National Assembly and the president will assent to it. ”
Also, the President of the Kwara State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KWACCIMA), Alhaji Ahmed Adeoye Raji, decried the delay.
He, however, stressed that he was yet to get details of the budget as regards the recurrent and capital expenditures for proper analysis.
In his view, the Executive Director of National Workforce Strategy and Enlightenment Centre (NIWOSEC), Comrade David Ehindero stated that the process was politicised.
“I hope in the near future, the National Assembly will be ready not to allow their works to be affected by politics. I am not impressed by the unnecessary delay on the passage of the budget .
“I, however, wish to call on government to pay attention in the public sector to help them cushion effect of the economic situation,” he added.
Earlier, the Senate had yesterday (Wednesday) had began debate on the general principles of 2019 Appropriation Bill of N8.83 trillion presented before the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The commencement of second reading of the Appropriation bill by the senators is coming months after President Buhari presented the budget to a joint session of the National Assembly.
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who disclosed that the senators will begin the debate today at a brief session of the Senate, yesterday, however, urged the lawmakers to write down their names to indicate when they would make their submissions on the appropriation bill.
Saraki said: “We will commence the second reading and debate on general principles of the budget. So colleagues please put your names on the list for Wednesday (today).
Meanwhile, Saraki yesterday announced that following the absence of the chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on New National Minimum Wage Bill, Senator Olusola Adeyeye (APC, Osun Central), the Deputy Senate Majority Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, (APC, Edo North), will now head the panel in acting capacity.
Recall that the Senate had on January 24 this year, set up an eight-member Adhoc Committee to look at the New Minimum Wage Bill after scaling second reading, just as the Bill was referred to the constituted ad- hoc committee.
The committee was given two weeks to conclude its assignment and report back.
In line with parliamentary practice, the Senate adjourned plenary till today in honour of a serving member of the House of Representatives, Temitope Olaoye, a.k.a, ‘Sugar’.
The lawmaker, who represented Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency of Oyo State, was reportedly shot in the eye by unknown gunmen in Ibadan during the March 9 governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.