Reps pass N4.695trn 2014 budget

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi & Ibrahim Kabiru Sule

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives yes­ter­day passed the 2014 budget of N4.695 tril­lion de­spite at­tempts by a law­maker to scut­tle the process.

The Se­nate passed its own ver­sion of the budget on Wed­nes­day.

Daily Trust re­ports that the federal govern­ment had tabled the sum of N4.642 tril­lion be­fore the Na­tional As­sem­bly last De­cem­ber but the law­maker tin­kered with it and passed N4.695 tril­lion. This showed an in­crease of about N53 bil­lion from the ini­tial sum.

A break­down of the budget showed that N2.454 tril­lion is for re­cur­rent (non-debt) ex­pen­di­ture; N1.119 tril­lion is for con­tri­bu­tion to the De­vel­op­ment Fund for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture; N712 bil­lion for debt ser­vice, while N408.687 bil­lion is for statu­tory trans­fers.

But the ini­tial break­down of the budget in­di­cated that N2.43 tril­lion was meant for re­cur­rent (non-debt) ex­pen­di­ture; N1.1 tril­lion for con­tri­bu­tion to the De­vel­op­ment Fund for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture; N712 bil­lion for debt ser­vice, while N399.687 bil­lion was for statu­tory trans­fers.

House spokesman Zakari Mo­hammed later told jour­nal­ists that they had to “be on the same page with the Se­nate,” hence their re­solve to ap­prove the N4.695 tril­lion.

How­ever, a mem­ber of the House from Yobe State, Rep Goni Bukar Lawan said the N2 bil­lion the federal govern­ment in­tends to use to re­vive the North-East econ­omy was not enough.

But speaker Tam­buwal noted that the north­east in­ter­ven­tion budget was one of the is­sues the se­nate pres­i­dent and him­self dis­cussed with Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathn in their meet­ing the pre­vi­ous night.

Tam­buwal said the pres­i­dent had ex­plained to them that the amount was only an in­terim one and that as a take­off grant, there is the pos­si­bil­ity of fur­ther com­mit­ment by the govern­ment.

There was also an at­tempt by Rep Kings­ley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) to scut­tle the budget pas­sage, ar­gu­ing that the de­tails for the budget were not pro­vided.

But the law­mak­ers unan­i­mously kicked against the move with mi­nor­ity leader, Femi Gba­jabi­amila, say­ing go­ing by House rule, no­body could stop budget con­sid­er­a­tion pro­ceed­ings once it has kick started.

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