The Nigerian Senate has gone on a one-month break without carrying out its planned final consideration of the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means restructuring request forwarded to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2022 for expeditious consideration.
The Senate will resume plenary after the February 25 Presidential/National Assembly elections.
Buhari, when he assented the N21.83 trillion 2023 national budget weeks ago, had warned that the Senate’s failure to pass the restructuring request would put Nigeria at risk of incurring additional N1.8 trillion debt.
Indications that the Ways and Means restructuring request may be jettisoned appeared when the request was neither listed on the Order Paper used for plenary on Wednesday nor mentioned by the Senate leader who is the Chairman of the Special Committee set up for that purpose.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan had on Tuesday last week declared that the Senate was ready to approve the request, provided required details of the spendings were made available by the Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele.
He said it was the restructuring request that prevented the Senate and, by extension, the National Assembly from adjourning plenary on Thursday last week till after the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“We must have necessary information for passage of the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means Restructuring request as time is not on our side in the Senate now in view of coming general elections.
“If there is need for the Senate to sit up to Friday (last week) for thorough consideration and passage of the request, it will be done but the affected officials from the executive must also expedite action on provision of required information as regards documents authorising approval and disbursement of the monies totalling N22.7 trillion,” Lawan had said.
But the Senator Gobir-led committee did not present any report for consideration by the Senate on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, making the Senate to adjourn without approving it as earlier planned.