The Senate has passed 2022 Appropriation Bill of N17.126 trillion, with an indication by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, that the National Assembly transmit the 2022 budget passed by both chambers to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday for assent into law.
The passage of the Appropriation Bill in the Senate, a day after the House of Representatives, followed the adoption of the recommendations of the report of Senate Committee on Appropriation at plenary on Wednesday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 8, presented the 2022 budget proposal of N16.391 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly for approval.
Lawan hinted at the transmission to Buhari on Wednesday in his remarks moments before the chamber proceeded on recess.
According to him, the timely assent of the 2022 Appropriations bill into law would ensure the commencement of its implementation by January next year.
He added that businesses operating in the country as well as the economy stand to be impacted positively by the timely passage of the nation’s budget by the National Assembly.
He said, “For the 2022 Appropriation bill, we are expecting that the bill will be cleaned up between today and tomorrow, and we hope that by tomorrow, the bill will be sent to Mr. President for his assent.
“[And] we are very optimistic that Mr. President will assent to the bill, like he did for 2020 and 2021, so that by January 2022, the implementation of the budget 2022 will commence by the grace of God.
“We have seen the benefits of passing and assenting to the budget in good time, especially when we had to fight COVID-19.
“The consequence of the implementation of the budget in 2021 and 2020 was very clear. For us to come out of the recession that we found ourselves in the previous period, we must have had the fortune of passing the budget and getting Mr. President to sign in time.
“So, we believe that the economy of Nigeria, and Nigerian businesses especially, will continue to benefit from the passage of the appropriation bills in time and the assent by Mr. President, accordingly.
“We wish to make it clear that our desire is to provide legislations for the peace, order and good government of our country.”
The Senate President further hinted that the chamber would consider the report of the Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution as soon as it is presented early next year.
“When we return, we have one major legislation that has not been attended to at all as a chamber, and that is the constitutional amendments.
“Our Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has been doing its work. But as a chamber, we haven’t finished working on it.
“We are expectant that our Committee on the review of the constitution will be presenting the report to this chamber as soon as we resume. The committee has done so much, and the report is almost ready.
“When we harmonize with our colleagues in the House, we should be able to vote on the issues that will particularly bring about peace, unity and good government in our country, before such bill will be sent to the State Houses of Assembly for concurrence.
“On the whole, we must thank Almighty God that almost all those major items we reflected in our legislative agenda as a chamber has been attended to.
“There’s nothing that has been left out, including the review or amendment to our standing orders on how our committees have better and more clearly defined jurisdictions and, of course, how we conduct ourselves here as a chamber.
“And this is because we’ve remained united even in the face of sometimes very difficult issues. We have gone through such difficult moments with dignity and respect for each other, and we have come out even stronger.”
The Senate President reminded his colleagues of the role of the Senate as an institution to stabilize the polity, particularly against the backdrop of issues likely to surface ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Next year, by the grace of God, will be the last lap of our tenure. So, we have a lot to ensure that we finish all the things that we have penciled down for ourselves and, of course, there are many other issues that from time to time will be coming up in our polity.
“This Senate is supposed to play that role of stabilizing the polity in Nigeria.
“[And] I daresay, that the members of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, is a stabilizing institution in the polity of Nigeria.”
He underscored the need for the National Assembly to work with the executive arm of government to provide the needed resources, as well as oversight the use of such funds in the fight against insecurity.
“The killings across the country are so bad, and it is not acceptable to us, but we have to work hard because we are part of government and we are also accountable to the people, for not only protecting their lives and property, but to ensure that they have a life that is worth living”, Lawan said.