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Published On: Wed, Aug 15th, 2018

N242bn election budget: No date to reconvene yet – Saraki, Dogara

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By Musa Adamu and Ikechukwu Okaforadi

The leadership of the National Assembly yesterday hinted that the federal legislature may no longer reconvene this week as earlier planned due to some procedural shortfalls.
Members of both chambers have also been notified of the change in the date as some of them were already back in Abuja to attend the plenary meeting.
According to a statement from the President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, jointly signed by their Special Advisers on Media and Publicity; Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan respectively, a new date is yet to be fixed for the reconvening of the National Assembly to consider the INEC budget for the 2019 general elections.
According to the leadership, it would be most “irresponsible” to reconvene the members without ensuring that all the necessary legislative procedures which would facilitate the accelerated passage of the budget are on ground.
The presiding officers attributed the indefinite postponement to the inability of the Committees of both Chambers on INEC to meet with INEC officials and the follow up meetings with the committees on Appropriation, Loans and Debts on the budget to form the two required reports of the committees to both chambers.
According to the explanations of the presiding officers, the two reports harmonised are supposedly the documents to be considered by both chambers when they reconvene hence it was expected that the committees on Electoral Matters would have finalised their meetings on or before Monday August 13, but that was not the case.
The statement read in parts, “The leadership of the two chambers had met and agreed to reconvene to consider the proposal this week before which a meeting between the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters and officials of the INEC must have held on or before Monday August 13, 2018.
“The two Presiding officers of the National Assembly also noted that the joint committees were also expected to meet with the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan request after which two reports would have been ready for presentation in the two chambers.
“However, no such meeting had taken place yet as a result of which both Senate and House of Representatives cannot reconvene as there is no report to consider.
“Until the Committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess especially those that may have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.”

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