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2024 budget proposal passes second reading at house of reps 

2024 budget proposal passes second reading at house of reps 
December 01
13:18 2023

The 2024 appropriation bill has passed second reading in the house of representatives

The budget scaled second reading during plenary on Friday after an extensive two-day debate by lawmakers.

On Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu presented a record N27 trillion as the proposed budget for 2024, before a joint session of the senate and house of representatives.

Tinubu asked the lawmakers to expedite the consideration of the budget and ensure that the appropriation bill is passed before January.

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Julius Ihonvbere, majority leader of the house who led the debate on Thursday, said the budget will address “strategic areas” of the nation’s economy, expressing satisfaction that a chunk of the budget will be allocated to security.

Other lawmakers took turns to expatiate on the appropriation bill’s principles, making recommendations ranging from stringent scrutiny of the budget breakdown during engagement with heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), to effective oversight to block leakages.

In his contribution, Ahmed Jaha from Borno asked the president to allocate a “substantial amount” for security and defence, saying the country cannot record significant progress without the security of lives and property.

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Sada Soli from Katsina asked his colleagues to thoroughly scrutinise the personnel cost of MDAs in the budget to block “over-bloated” proposals.

“Let the committee chairs look at the issue of personnel cost because they are over-bloated,” he said.

In his submission, Sani Bala from Kano said the country cannot get its security right without securing its borders.

The lawmakers voted in favour of the appropriation bill when it was put to a voice vote by Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house.

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Subsequently, the house adjourned plenary to December 12 to enable lawmakers to engage MDAs who will appear before the relevant committees to defend their proposals.

Last week, the senate and the house of representatives approved the 2024-2026 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and fiscal strategy paper (FSP) — parameters on which the 2024 appropriation bill will be framed.

The lawmakers approved $73.96, $73.76 and $69.90 per barrel as benchmark oil prices for daily crude oil production of 1.78 million barrels, 1.80 million barrels, and 1.81 million barrels, for 2024, 2025, and 2026 respectively.

Also, the parliament approved an exchange rate of N700/$, N665.61/$ and N669.79/$, as proposed by the federal government for the period 2024–2026.

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