Senate plans fresh Finance Act amendment over N11.03tr budget deficit debacle
• N’Assembly complex renovation may force shift in tomorrow’s resumption
The National Assembly has mooted plan to tackle the N11.03 deficit debacle in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget by amending relevant provisions of the Finance Act.
Chairman, Senate Committee on General Services, Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), said amendment of the Act would make revenue generating agencies double or triple targets earlier given them to reduce proposed budget deficits.
Musa spoke to journalists on Friday at the frontage of the temporary chamber being put in place for senators, in view of ongoing renovation at the main chamber.
He also implied that tomorrow’s resumption could depend on how well the temporary facility has been prepared. He said: “The budget of this country has been in deficit, and the only thing we can do is amend so many things in the Finance Act, so that we can generate more revenue from other sources, rather than depend solely on oil, and by extension, reduce the size of proposed budget deficit.
“By now, the temporary chambers should have been ready, knowing that we are resuming. Initially, we were billed to resume on the 20th of this month but there are some little things that need to be done before then.
“But I can assure the general public that this will be done in the shortest time, and we are going to resume to receive Mr. President to present the 2023 budget.
“You will recall that the 9th Senate has done very well, because this edifice, since it was built, has never been rehabilitated. We are refurbishing it, bringing it back to standard, like any other parliament you see around the world.
“The Federal Capital Territory, which is doing this job, has been up and doing. But we need to push. They need to do more, so that we will be able to resume as quick as possible.”
The Senate had, through its Committee on Finance, during interface with Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, kicked against the proposed N11.03 trillion deficit in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget.
Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), who chairs the committee, told heads of revenue generating agencies, at different times, to think out of the box in generating more revenue for the country in the coming fiscal year, with a view to reducing proposed deficit size and loan collection for budget financing.