Se­nate hikes 2014 budget by N53bn

• North East Sen­a­tors kick

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Tu­raki A. Has­san

The Se­nate yes­ter­day passed the 2014 ap­pro­pri­a­tion bill and raised the ini­tial pro­posal sub­mit­ted by the Federal govern­ment from N4.63 tril­lion to N4.91 tril­lion.

A break­down of the budget in­di­cates that Statu­tory Trans­fers was al­lo­cated N408.6 bil­lion, debt Ser­vice, N712 bil­lion; re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture, N2.4 tril­lion; cap­i­tal votes of N1.1 tril­lion while the Sub­sidy Re-In­vest­ment Em­pow­er­ment Pro­gramme (SURE-P) was al­lo­cated N268 bil­lion.

The law­mak­ers unan­i­mously voted in ap­proval of the 2014 budget which put min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion top on the al­lo­ca­tion with NN373.5 bil­lion; De­fence N314.3 bil­lion; Health N214.9 bil­lion; In­te­rior N145 bil­lion; Works N106.3 bil­lion while Ser­vice wide votes will gulp N301.8 bil­lion.

Other al­lo­ca­tions in­clude of N7 bil­lion for the on­go­ing na­tional con­fer­ence; N1 bil­lion bud­geted for com­pen­sa­tion for 2011 post-elec­tion vi­o­lence; N424.6 mil­lion will be used to pay off li­a­bil­ity of the New Nige­rian News­pa­pers; N5 bil­lion is for build­ing of the head­quar­ters of the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Leg­isla­tive Stud­ies and N100 bil­lion is for con­stituency projects of law­mak­ers.

Other ma­jor high­lights of the budget in­clude crude oil bench­mark of $77.50 at a daily pro­duc­tion tar­get of 2.3883 mil­lion bar­rels (mbpd) and an ex­change rate of N160 to US$1 and an in­fla­tion rate pro­jected at 9.5%.

The ex­ec­u­tive pro­posal to spend a sub­stan­tial part of the budget on se­cu­rity re­mained un­al­tered.

Speak­ing shortly af­ter the budget was passed Se­nate Pres­i­dent David Mark called on the ex­ec­u­tive to im­ple­ment it as passed.

The ex­ec­u­tive pro­posal to spend N2 bil­lion to re­vive the econ­omy of rav­aged North East re­mained with­out any in­crease de­spite ap­peals by Sen­a­tors from the re­gion for an up­ward re­view.

Com­ing un­der point of or­der, Se­na­tor Ah­mad Lawan (APC, Yobe), said the lead­er­ship and all Sen­a­tors had agreed that the al­lo­ca­tion needed to be in­creased but ex­pressed shock that noth­ing was added by the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

“How­ever, Se­nate Pres­i­dent David Mark re­buffed Lawan in­sist­ing that the Se­nate will not make any ad­di­tion to the amount pro­posed by the ex­ec­u­tive say­ing, “I will rule that we pass this. All the same we can then go ahead and make spe­cial case for that.”

This is the first in four years that the budget will be passed and signed in the sec­ond quar­ter of the fis­cal year.

PHOTO

Wife of Borno State gover­nor, Nana Kashim Shet­tima, com­mis­er­at­ing with a vic­tim of a re­cent bomb blast in Maiduguri, at the Univer­sity of Maiduguri Teach­ing Hospi­tal in Maiduguri on Tues­day. OMIRIN OLATUNJI

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