The Senate will today open debate on the general principles of Budget 2019, Senate President Bukola Saraki assured yesterday.
Saraki scheduled the date of the debate of the fiscal document shortly before the upper chamber adjourned plenary session in honour of a member of the House of Representatives, Temitope Olaoye “Sugar”, who was killed in Ibadan last Saturday by unknown persons.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on December 19, last year, presented a Budget of N8.6 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly for consideration and passage as this year’s Appropriation Bill.
Christened “Budget of Continuity”, the 2019 fiscal document is planned to continue the country’s drive for inclusive economic growth, diversification and sustainable development.
Saraki urged his colleagues, who have contributions to make on the budget to list their names for proper coordination of the debate.
He said that the debate will take two days, today and March 19 to enable many senators to contribute.
The conclusion of the debate of the general principles of the 2019 Appropriation Bill will pave the way for its reference to the Appropriation Committee for further legislative action.
Saraki also mandated the Ad-hoc Committee on the New Minimum Wage Bill to expedite action on its assignment.
He directed Senator Francis Alimikhena to take over the chairmanship of the committee in the absence of its substantive chairman, Senator Olusola Adeyeye.
The House of Representatives, which had earlier debated and approved N30, 000 as the new national minimum wage as proposed by the Federal Government, also adjourned sitting for its slain member.
The Green Chamber adjourned plenary in less than 20 minutes after resumption from the general election break.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara regretted that Nigeria was yet to move away from politically-motivated killings.
The late Olatoye represented Lagelu/Akiyele Fededal Constituency. He chaired the Committee on Urban Development & Regional Planning before his death.
Dogara also announced the death of a former member, Bethel Amadi, who also died during the break.
Amadi was former President of the Pan African Parliament between 2012 and 2015.
The Speaker, who sauntered into the chamber at about 11.35am exchanged greetings and banters with his colleagues by the aisle before assuming his seat.
After the opening prayers, he announced his approval of the last votes and proceedings after which he broke the news of the death of the two lawmakers.
He called for prayers for the repose of the souls of the departed which was said by the Chief Whip, Hassan Doguwa and Tobi Okechukwu.
Speaking with reporters after the plenary, Dogara condemned killings across the country, adding that that Nigeria should not be experiencing killings during elections.
He said: “It is unfortunate that we lost our colleague and many other Nigerian during the elections due electoral violence. This is so unfortunate for us as a nation and even for our democracy.
“We need to move away from this kind of experience to a better place as a nation, it is not helping our democracy.”