Senate Begins Debate On 2024 Budget

The Senate on Thursday commenced debate on the 2024 budget.

The debate commenced a day after President Bola Tinubu presented the budget of N27.5 trillion to a joint session of the National Assembly.

The proposed budget passed first reading at the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday shortly after the joint session.

The Senate leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, led the debate on the general principles of the 2024 Appropriation Bill which contains the budget, during the plenary.

Presenting the bill for second reading, Mr Opeyemi said it was designed to prioritise electricity challenges, procurement of vaccines, construction of major roads across the country and construction of railway projects.

He said the parameters and fiscal assumptions of the proposed budget would develop economic activities of the country and transform living conditions of Nigerians.

Mr Opeyemi therefore urged his colleagues to support and pass the bill.

“I believe that all the proposals in this budget are laudable and would enhance the lives of citizens,” he said.

Joel Thomas, the senator representing Delta South, supported passage of the budget.

Mr Thomas, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said when the budget is passed, it would facilitate a renewed hope to Nigerians.

The senator said the budget would develop economic activities of the country, if implemented.

“It is a budget that is going to give renewed hope to our people,” he said.

“On the capital expenditure, we have never had it this close in the past. With this budget, most of the things lacking in our economy will be attended to.”

Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan (PDP, Kogi Central) also supported passage of the bill.

Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan, however, complained that the federal government had neglected her constituency.

She called on the government to facilitate projects in her constituency.

Many senators who contributed to the debate supported passage of the Appropriation Bill.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said about 18 senators have indicated interest to contribute to the debate on the general principles of the bill.

Mr Akpabio therefore adjourned the debate till Friday for other senators to make contributions.

President Tinubu had asked the National Assembly to pass the 2024 Appropriation before 31 December to keep up with the January-December budget cycle.

Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday asked the National Assembly to reject the proposed budget, saying it contained false statistics and padded figures.