The inability of the various committees of the Senate to finish their budget preparations and defend their figures before the Senate Committee on Appropriation has continued to delay the 2014 budget in the National Assembly, the Senate Spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has said.
Fielding questions from journalists in Abuja yesterday, Abaribe, who said every committee of the Senate is a sub-committee of the Senate Appropriation Committee, explained that to wrap off the 2014 budget and send to the President for assent, all the sub-committees must finish their input on the budget.
Though he said that a lot of the sub-committees have submitted and defended their final approved budget before the Appropriation Committee, some are still pending, due to their inability to complete works on their budget.
He said to avoid continued delay of the 2014 budget, the Senate resolved to shelve some items on its order paper, to enable the sub-committees who are yet to conclude works on their budget to expedite actions on it.
This is even as he said that today would be the last date for all the sub-committees to submit and defend their figures before the Appropriation committee of the Senate.
It would be recalled that the Senate had earlier suspended plenary for three weeks to enable its various sub-committees to conclude works on the 2014 budget, so as to enable the Appropriation committee to finalise the process.
However, due to delays by some sub-committees, the Senate had to further extend the deadline by one week, before this last date of today, which may still be extended.
Recall that late last year, President Goodluck Jonathan, after delaying to close to three weeks, directed the Coordinating Minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to present separately the N4.6trillion 2014 budget before the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, after the budget was presented, it took both chambers of the National Assembly extra two weeks to arrive at a common benchmark for oil, which is the base on which the budget was based.
From then till date, the 2014 budget has continued to toss up and down in the National Assembly, yet, no end in sight for its approval and passage.