Senate passes 2013 budget amendment bill

The Senate yesterday passed the 2013 Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill forwarded to it by President Goodluck Jonathan last month.

The action of the red chamber was a reversal of its earlier position that it would not consider the budget until it resumed from its annual long vacation in September. 
The decision by the Senate to rescind its earlier position according to the its spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, was taken for the interest of Nigerians The approved budget, however, did not differ in any significant way from the main 2013 Appropriation Act.
The Appropriation Amendment Bill mainly restored the cuts effected by the National Assembly from the original proposal forwarded to the lawmakers by the executive arm of government.

In the lead presentation report of the Appropriation Committee, the chairman, Senator Ahmed Maccido said: “The provisions in the bill for personnel costs have been restored.”
According to him, “other than the position above, this bill does not differ significantly from the 2013 Appropriation Act as passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr. President.”

Maccido added that in specific terms, the amendment bill as worked on by the Appropriation Committee of both chambers does not increase the aggregate expenditure from that contained in the 2013 Appropriation Act.

The total amount approved in the 2013 Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill by the Senate, albeit, the National Assembly to be expended from the consolidated revenue funds of the federation was N4,987,220,425,601.
Out of this, the sum of N388,053,200,000 only is for statutory transfers, N591,764,000,000 only is for debt servicing, N2,415,745,972,812 is for recurrent expenditure while the remaining N1,591,657,252,789 only is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure for the year ending, December 31, 2013.

Meanwhile, the Senate also yesterday confirmed the nomination of seven career ambassadors and one noncareer ambassador that were sent to it by President Jonathan in accordance with section 171(1)(c) sub-section 4 of the 1999 Constitution.
The career ambassador designates are; Mr. O.F Muoh (Imo); Mrs. T.J Chinwuba- Akabogu (Anambra); Mr. Adamu Emozozo (Edo); Mr. A. Echi (Benue); Mrs. G.M. Quist-Adebiyi (Lagos); Mr. M. Dauda (Borno); Mr. Hakeem O. Sulaiman (Ogun) while Dr. Bolere Ketebu (Bayelsa) is the only non-career designate.

This was as the red chamber also yesterday approved the confirmation of 21 out of the 23 nominees as members of the Federal Character Commission (FCC). The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) nominee, Alhaji Musa Telle and his counterpart from Anambra State, Mrs. Adaeze Gloria Idigo-Izundu were rejected by the Senate.

Yesterday also marked the commencement of Senate’s 2013 annual vacation as the upper chamber will be resuming for plenary on September 17.
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