Senate To Pass 2020 Budget Thursday

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday announced that the 2020 Appropriation bill before the National Assembly will be passed today, Thursday, December 5, 2019.

He made the announcement after the Senate passed the Public Procurement Act 2007 amendment bills following the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Public Procurement.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shuaibu Isah Lau (PDP, Taraba North), in his presentation, noted that some 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 three amendment bills were sponsored by Senators Shuaibu Isah (PDP, Taraba North); Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central) and Danladi Sankara (APC, Jigawa North West).

The Senate, in a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, adopted the recommendations of the committee, but 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, as against the previous provision of the 2007 Act which specifically names the Minister of Finance as Chairman.

Also the Senate adopted the committee’s recommendation on the issuance of Certificate of No Objection which shall be issued by a Committee of Directors of the Bureau to be chaired by the Director-General of the Public Procurement Bureau.

During Wednesday’s plenary also, the senate said the recommendation of the committee to review the mobilization fee for local contractors upwards from 15 percent to 20 percent was insufficient.

It therefore, amended Section 35 of the Act to provide for not more than thirty percent mobilization for local contractors.

In his remarks, the Senate President said that “the passage of the Public Procurement Bill will complement the 2020 budget set to be passed tomorrow (today) by the Senate.”

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According to Lawan, the Public Procurement bill passed by the upper chamber will be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

He said: “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 sometime, 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.”