The National Assembly is poised to approve the 2024 budget amounting to N27.5 trillion on Saturday, following the completion of defense sessions by approximately 541 ministries, departments, and agencies of the Federal Government.

    Senator Adeola Solomon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, disclosed in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday that the Senate would resume plenary on Wednesday. Solomon mentioned that the committee has initiated its secretariat, where reports from all Senate sub-committees will be submitted.


    Expressing confidence, he stated that the appropriation committee is expected to submit its report on Thursday, paving the way for the budget’s passage on Saturday. President Bola Tinubu presented the N27.5 trillion budget to a joint section of the National Assembly on November 29, 2023, in Abuja. The President outlined the budget deficit for the 2024 fiscal year at N9.18 trillion, representing 3.88% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product.

    “The N9.18 trillion deficit is a reduction from the N13.78 trillion deficit recorded in 2023, representing 6.11% of GDP.

    “Tinubu had explained that the deficit would be covered by new borrowings amounting to N7.83 trillion, N298.49 billion from privatization proceeds, and N1.05 trillion drawdown on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.

    “On December 1, 2023, the Senate approved the N27.5 trillion budget for its second reading.

    “The ongoing budget defense witnessed various committees receiving reports after the defense sessions involving approximately 541 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).

    “During the defense sessions, MDAs presented their budgetary proposals before the respective committees of the National Assembly. This process commenced last week Monday, with the Federal Ministry of Power and its seven agencies defending their budgets before the Committee on Power, among other MDAs defending their allocations.”

    The Senate has been immersed in a flurry of activities since last Monday, as heads of various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) engage with committee chairpersons and members.

    In September of the previous year, the then Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Adeola, confirmed the operation of 541 MDAs by the Federal Government. He emphasized that over 400 of them were slated for elimination, following the recommendations of the Stephen Orosanye-led Presidential Committee on agencies’ rationalization.

    On Monday, Adeola reassured that the Senate was committed to meeting the December 31, 2023 deadline. He stated, “Today, we formally opened the secretariat to all chairpersons of committees and their secretariats to commence the defense of their respective MDAs’ budgets before the Committee on Appropriations. Let me use this medium to call on all committee chairpersons that we have a deadline, and we are working audaciously hard to ensure we meet that deadline.”

    “I urge my colleagues to please be readily available to receive their reports. We do not want to make decisions on any ministry or agencies of the government without the input of their respective committees from the chairpersons of the various committees.

    “If the chairpersons of committees fail to submit their budgets by the deadline, the Appropriation Committee will allocate funds to the agencies at its discretion.

    “We are appealing and begging for cooperation. We urge the National Assembly to resume plenary on the 20th of this month (Wednesday), which is when we are expected to present the budget.

    “However, without the submissions to the committee, there is little or nothing we can do. As you are all aware, the tradition of the National Assembly is to pass the budget into law by December 31 of every year. This 10th Senate cannot be an exception. We have to work round the clock, understanding the stress everybody is going through, and that’s why we are here.

    Tinubu budget 3

    “I appeal to all my colleagues, and I am ready. The deadline is Wednesday this week to receive all reports of all standing committees of the Senate. By Wednesday, any agency or committee that does not submit its report to the committee, we will go ahead and treat your budget independent of that committee.”

    “We are appealing to all chairpersons of various committees to submit their reports on or before Wednesday this week. We have a deadline, and the goal is to pass this bill into law before December 31, 2023, so that implementation can commence in earnest by January 1, 2024.

    “The Committee on Appropriations is likely to lay its report before the Senate on Thursday, and the budget might be passed by Saturday. We are already behind schedule, and time is not on our side. In a few days, it will be Christmas, and after that, the New Year. The budget would be laid on the floor of the Senate by Thursday, and passage may occur on Saturday. The subsequent stages cannot be determined until the ongoing third stage is concluded. Everything hinges on the timely submission of reports by various committees.

    “As for adjustments to the budget, it is premature to speculate. Time will reveal the final size of the budget.”

    “We have started receiving correspondence from one or two of our colleagues. A special plea has been made for one or two agencies that have appeared, citing the small funding allocated to them.

    “We are closely monitoring and waiting. When the right decision is made, we can then begin to form an idea of what the actual size of the budget will look like. Currently, we have a budget of N27.5tn.

    “Similarly, the Spokesperson for the Senate, Senator Yemi Adaramodu, indicated that the budget would likely be laid on Thursday. He emphasized that all committees were expected to submit their reports by Wednesday.

    “Adaramodu stated, ‘Once the report is submitted, both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House of Representatives will then review the budget to aggregate it. They will check for necessary adjustments. If both committees are in agreement, the report can be considered and passed for the third reading. The timing is not the crucial factor, but the procedural aspects of the budget passage. If it requires us to convene on Saturday to pass the budget, we will, and even if it’s on a Sunday, we will gather here to pass the budget.

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