Senate To Pass 2020 Budget Thursday, Approves Public Procurement Bills

Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, on Wednesday, said the 2020 Appropriation Bill will be passed on Thursday, December 5, 2019, as planned, as part of the resolve to restore the country’s January-December budgetary cycle for the first time since the beginning of the fourth republic.

Ahead of this, the upper legislative chamber passed the Public Procurement Act 2007 amendment bills, which followed a presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Public Procurement.

According to a statement by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Lawan explained that the Bill, which will complement the 2020 budget, is to be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

Ahead of its passage, the report of the Senate Committee on Appropriations was laid before the upper chamber by its Chairman, Senator Jibrin Barau.

Commenting, the Senate President explained that what “we have done today is really to put the icing on the cake on what we are about to do tomorrow by the grace of God, when we pass the 2020 budget.

“We have already passed the Finance Bills that will ensure that we get the required revenue to implement the budget.

“The public procurement process in Nigeria has been a big bottleneck for some time, probably since it was passed.

“I believe that with this amendment, the procurement process will be faster and better, as will be the budget implementation process.

“Surely, this bill will have to go to the House of Representatives for them to concur.

“I had a discussion with the Honourable Speaker that they will concur with us before we go on the Christmas break so that we will give the executive all they would require for them to implement the 2020 budget successfully,” Lawan said.

Meanwhile, the three amendment Bills were sponsored by Senators Shuaibu Isah Lau (PDP, Taraba North); Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central); Danladi Sankara (APC, Jigawa North West).

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Lau, in his presentation, said: “certain amendments were made on the bills to encapsulate the ingredients of the varied views collated from experts and professionals, aimed at adding value to the Procurement Act.”

The Senate, in a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, adopted the recommendations of the committee with slight amendments made to Section 1, under the Establishment of National Council on Public Procurement.

The amendment to clause 1 of the bill provides that the Council shall consist of a Chairman who shall be appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, rather than the Minister of Finance as Chairman, as in the 2007 Act.

The Senate also adopted the committee’s recommendation on the issuance of “Certificate of No Objection” by a Committee of the Directors of the Bureau, chaired by the Director-General of the Public Procurement Bureau.

Similarly, the upper chamber considered the recommendation of the committee to review upwards the mobilization fee from 15 to 20% for local contractors as insufficient.

Accordingly, Section 35 of the Act was amended to provide for not more than 30% mobilization for local contractors.

The amendment for an upward review of 35% mobilization for local contractors was initially proposed by Senator Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North) and seconded by Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central).

The Senate, however, settled for a 30% review moved by Senator Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) and seconded by Senator Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North).

Photo captionPresident of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan with the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, during a courtesy visit by the ambassador to the National Assembly, Abuja, on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

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