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Business News of Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Source: economicconfidential.com

Buhari may present 2022 budget this month

President Muhammadu Buhari President Muhammadu Buhari

There is a high probability that President Muhammadu Buhari might present the 2022 budget this month. The speculation is coming on the heels of the two chambers of the National Assembly resuming plenary today, after a two-month long annual vacation, to continue with the third year of the Ninth Assembly.

The Senate and House of Representatives had adjourned plenary on July 15 after passing landmark bills including the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which was assented to last month by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.

The two chambers will upon resumption of plenary adjourn almost immediately as a mark of honour for a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Adedayo Omolafe, representing Akure South/North federal Constituency, who died on August 16.

The adjournment of legislative session till Wednesday is in line with the tradition of the National Assembly, which will not sit in the event of the death of either a Senator or House member.

But as the federal lawmakers returned to their desks fully, several important legislative work were expected to be lined up for their attention.

Aside consideration of crucial bills, resolutions to motions and continuation of probes, the worsening security situation was expected to be the main agenda of the lawmakers.

The legislators, in line with their promise in their legislative agenda, were also expected to maintain the budget cycle of January-December.

Flowing from this and with both chambers having held interactive session on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) with heads of revenue generating agencies of government, President Muhammadu Buhari is being expected to present the 2022 appropriation Bill to the lawmakers hopefully before the end of this month.

Also, the review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is expected to be on the priority list of the two chambers.

The Senate and the House had earlier in the year held zonal public hearings in 12 centres involving all the 36 states to get inputs on the constitutional amendments from Nigerians.

On its resumption for legislative activities, both chairmen of the Constitution Review Committees, Senator Ovie Omo-agege and Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, were expected to harmonise reports from both the zonal and national public hearings before being presented to the two chambers for approval.

Another issue that might attract the attention of the lawmakers, is that of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Stamp Duties collection, which have become a legal matter between some state and federal governments.

There were speculations that some lawmakers might push for a legislation on VAT.

The harmonisation of the differences in the position of the two chambers the in electoral act amendment bill is also on the card.

The different versions of the Bill, it will be recalled, were passed by both Chambers. Some Civil Society Organisations have therefore written to the two principal officers urging the Senate to step down its own version of clause 52 (3) of the bill that required the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to seek the approval of both the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly before deciding on the use of technology in the transmission of election results and replace it with the House version of clause 52 (3) that gave INEC the power to make this decision regarding the electronic transmission of results.

In the Senate, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, at the commencement of Tuesday’s plenary is expected to administer oath of office on Hon Agom Jarigbe as the duly elected Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator for Cross River North Senatorial District.

This followed the recent ruling of the Court of Appeal that recognised him as the Senator-elect for Cross River North as against Stephen Odey, who was sworn in last December.