The Senate says it is committed to expeditious passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) just as it is also committed to the passage of the 2021 budget estimate of N13. 08 trillion.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Sen. Ajibola Basiru, made this known while reacting to the 2021 budget estimate presented to the National Assembly.
While also reacting to a report by a foreign medium that the upper chamber was suspending work on the Bill until next year because of the budget, Basiru said “this is not true”.
“This is not true because the bill is central even to the realisation of revenue and putting our oil in competitive international market.
“On Oct. 20, the bill will enter second reading after which it will be sent to the relevant committees of the Senate, that is committees on upstream and downstream sector.
“So that as work is being done on the 2021 appropriation, work will be done at the same time on the PIB.”
On the 2021 appropriation, Basiru said, “we will make sure that copies of the presented budget are made available to senators latest by Monday.
“So that on Tuesday, the senators will take turns to discuss the principle of the budget and make their views and comments known publicly before it is sent to the relevant committee under the coordination of appropriation committee.”
While speaking to news men on the proposed budget, Sen. Obinna Ogba (PDP-Ebonyi), said, “I’m very happy the way Mr President had spoken.
“The way he has directed the ministers, the MDAs for them to come and defend their budget.
“This is because why budgets have been delayed most of the time is because the ministers and MDAs find it difficult to defend their budget.”
He called on the executive to find ways of tackling revenue leakages in MDAs for the country to thrive economically.
“The country needs to do something about it not that the country does not have revenue but these revenues go down the drain.
“What they account for in the country is not actually what is generated.
“Efforts should be made that all monies generated should go directly to the federation account.”
Also Sen. Yusuf Yusuf (APC-Taraba), said that the budget presentation was a usual routine.
“It is a usual routine but every year we do this but like Mr President has emphasised that this time, is a very challenging budget.
“You know we have a high amount of deficit and then our revenue is not commensurate with our expectation.
“We have the COVID-19 challenge and so many other challenges this time that we have to contend with.
“But I am pleased that we are all determined by the MDAs, by the National Assembly itself, that we are going to work round the clock to make sure we give Nigeria the budget that can be sustained, that can provide better value for the Nigerian people,” he said.