Lack of reports poses further delay to the 2019 budget in Senate.
The promise by the Senate to finish work on the N8.83 trillion 2019 budget before it proceeds on Easter break may eventually not see the light of day.
The fresh concerns followed the failure by its various sub-panels to meet last Friday’s deadline for submission of reports to the Danjuma Goje-led Committee on Appropriation for scrutiny and further legislative inputs before the presentation of the finished document to the whole chamber.
Consequent upon two previous misses, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki had instructed those assigned with responsibilities to turn in their reports at the most by April 5 for the appropriation committee to submit its today.
Prior to the order last week, it was discovered that less than 10 panels had submitted their reports for further action.
But yesterday, it was found out that a good number of the sub-committees were unable to meet the ultimatum.
They blame the delay on the failure of most ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to defend their budgetary votes.
A member said the development was compounding the work of the appropriation committee.
Saraki had also said the panel would be empowered to present the submission of the executive in the event that the deadline was not met.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented the document to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 19, 2018.
However, electioneering for the February and March general elections made its consideration by the National Assembly impossible as the members were deeply engrossed in securing fresh terms of office.
In a related development, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has faulted the claim by the chamber’s Committee on Communications that his ministry abandoned 104 projects.
He said only 82 of such could be questioned for not taking off.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Ibadan, the minister maintained that the projects were never abandoned, but stopped from being awarded when the contractors were petitioned against from several quarters.
Shittu said it was inconceivable for any minister in the current administration to engage in such.
The panel presided over by Isah Missau, who stood in for the chairman, Gilbert Nnaji, had while bemoaning what it described as the ministry’s poor budget performance for 2018, asserted that it would be difficult for N18.1 billion to be approved for it in the 2019 appropriation bill.