Senate President, Bukola Saraki has cautioned senators against financial inducement in the course of budget defence by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, as the National Assembly on Wednesday, January 27, fixed February 25 for the passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.
The bill, which scaled second reading in the Senate, was committed to the Committee on Appropriation to coordinate budget defence by MDAs.
The senate president said: “This to me and to all of us is the most important area of this budget in the sense that it will be a great foundation not only for today but for the future if this can be achieved.
“Also, with the pegging of Capital Expenditure at 30 per cent, a number of comments were made about the level of borrowing but I think what matters is what the money is used for.
“As of the percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), we are still within the limits and parameters but what is important is to ensure that the money is judiciously used for what it is meant for.”
“It is important that the issue of blocking leakages is key and from the experience of the past we must learn from the past to work towards the future.
“The committees should scrutinise these estimates and ensure that they are estimates that we can all put our names to.
“The Zero budgeting of which the budget is premised on means some of the projects would be critically assessed to ensure that the projects were justified.”
Speaking after the conclusion of the debate on the bill, Senator Saraki vowed to deal with any lawmaker found to be involved in any form bribery in the course of budget defence, which would commence on Jan. 28, as ‘‘the current assembly would not tolerate conducts capable of undermining the integrity of the Chamber’’.
While briefing pressmen, the Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, said that the Senate would adjourn to allow for the budget defence to take off.
He said that the report would be laid before the Senate on February 24 while the Senate would consider and approve the budget on Thursday, February 25.