2022 budget: Senator Barau promises due process, robust debate
The chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation Senator Jibrin Barau has reiterated that due diligence would be observed in the legislative processes of the N2022 N16.39 trillion budget laid before the National Assembly.
The lawmaker who is representing Kano North Senatorial district revealed that a public hearing will be conducted this year to allow Nigerians to ventilate their opinions about the budget, while he regretted that the 2021 public hearing on the budget didn’t hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated this after the Committee held a close door meeting on Thursday in Abuja, preparatory to budget defence slated for Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday last week laid the national budget before the joint session of legislators.
The budget deficit component and debt servicing ratio have been recieving knocks from Nigerians who believed that the debt servicing was on the high side and may plunge the economy into further crisis.
The Nigeria Senate on Wednesday passed the appropriation bill for the second reading in a legislative debate that began on Tuesday this week.
Barau said, “You are aware that the bill was referred to the Committee on appropriations yesterday and that’s why we have to meet to determine on the processing. This is the first meeting and we had an extensive and robust meeting on how we can process the 2022 budget and to complete it within the time frame.
“Am sure you have been given copies of the timetable which is to make sure that we get everything done before December, believing that the bill after passing into law would be assented by Mr President before end of December so that we can maintain budget circle that will run from January to December.
Senator Barau expressed the optimism that the budget defence will sail through smoothly given that lawmakers have wealth of experience that will enable them handle the debate competently.
“Our democracy is getting stronger, year in, year out in respect to how we deal with our legislative processes. So you expect that we will do better because are getting more experienced and probably we are going to improve on what we have done in the past because due diligence is going to be applied in processing.
Reacting to public outcry on the high rate of debt servicing, Barau pleaded that all the relevant Committees should be allowed to work before anything else adding that he would like to put the cart before the horse.
“You are talking about the general principles which has been extensively discussed during plenary and I don’t want to put the cat before the horse. I don’t want to pre-empt what we are going to do because of the strategic nature of the issue.
“If I say anything now, it will be unfair as the a Chairman of the Committee and to allow the subcommittees to do their work. We have the Committee on Finance which is the subcommittee of this Committee on appropriations.
“We also have Committee on Foreign and Local Debts and so many other Committees that are saddled with the responsibility of discussing the issue and we should just allow them to work and come up with something.
“We are going to conduct public hearing this year to allow people come and ventilate their views. The Senate Pres has asked me to allow public hearing this year because last year, it didn’t hold because of COVID-19”, he concluded.