👤 By Adenike Lucas
The National Assembly has approved the 2018 budget, a day after the financial plan was laid on the floor of the Senate.
READ ALSO : Senator Goje Opens The Debate On 2018 Budget
The Executive sent the budget to the National Assembly since last year. However, lawmakers said they were unable to pass it before now because Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, failed to appear before appropriation committee or provide them with details of budget proposal.
Speaking on the floor of the upper house today, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said: “Let us allow this budget to pass but we will send a message to other Government agencies that we may not be so lenient next time as we are today. I urge that the budget be passed.”
A total of N9, 120, 334, 988, 225 was approved by the lawmakers, of which N2, 203, 835, 365, 699 was budgeted for debt service.
The budget also includes a commitment of 1% towards primary healthcare provision.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who was instrumental in negotiating the successful passage of the bill, thanked his colleague for their effort.
Senator Saraki said much thanks should go to “the relevant sub-committees and more importantly the chairman of appropriation of the Senate and also the chairman of appropriation of the House Committee, because I know this was a joint effort.
“Particularly for me, today is a very happy day for those of us who are from the medical profession, those serving and those who are not serving. I want to on behalf of all doctors, practicing doctors not native doctors, to thank the entire National Assembly for this 1% budget towards primary healthcare provision.
“This will go a long way in addressing our health issues. As we all know today, Nigeria accounts for 10% of the world’s maternal mortality, 9% for child, and 8% for infant mortality. This is not where we should be as a country and I think what we have done today in this chambers, also similar in the house is to open a new page that enables our people to be more healthy and more stronger. So I want to thank all my colleagues for this support.
“A lot has been said in areas of how we could have passed the budget earlier, and I think there is definitely room for improvement in the area of cooperation and collaboration between the executive and legislative arms of government.
“As you all know, at least 50% of capital expenditure Ministries, some of them up till ending of February still had not done their defence. I think this is an area that we must work on at the two arms of government.”