Senate Promises to Pass 2015 Budget Before End of 2014
The Senate yesterday said it would pass the 2015 Appropriation Bill before the end of 2014.
The statement was made by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, while presiding over yesterday’s plenary.
Ekweremadu who said the parliament was expecting the 2014 Appropriation Bill from the executive, added that the Senate would accord due attention to the passage of the bill this year.
He also said Senate would simultaneously ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed very soon.
However, a letter from President Goodluck Jonathan, introducing the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Policy (FSP), which was expected to be read on the floor of the chamber, was not read yesterday even though the document had been sent to the National Assembly by the executive.
A source, who confided in THISDAY on Monday, said the document had been received by the leadership of Senate.
MTEF and FSP, a document which provides the roadmap for government’s fiscal policy in the next three years, is supposed to be passed by the National Assembly ahead of the presentation of the annual budget.
Ekweremadu also assured that the process of amendment to the 1999 Constitution currently going on in the National Assembly will be concluded very soon, as the Senate yesterday received the report of the conference committee of both houses of the National Assembly on the amendment.
Also Tuesday, the Senate approved the final passage of National Health Bill and urged the president to promptly sign it into law.
The passage followed the adoption of the report of the conference committee of both houses by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
Entitled, “A Bill for an Act to Provide a Framework for the Regulation, Development and Management of a National Health System and Set Standards for Rendering Health Services in the Federation, and Other Matters Connected Therewith, 2012”, the bill seeks to provide for the management and development of the nation’s health system by effectively regulating the sector.
The bill, which among others, also aims at regulating organ transplants as well as providing health care services for Nigerians of all classes, will address primary health care by guaranteeing funds for manpower development, training and re-training of nurses and other medical personnel in the health system.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, moderated to 8.3 per cent in September compared to 8.5 per cent in the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
It would be the first easing in the rate of increase in food prices after inflation rose for three successive months.
The NBS, attributed the 0.2 percentage drop in the headline index to a weakened pace of price increases as a result of slower increases in food prices in the period under review.
The statistical agency, in its latest CPI figures released yesterday, stated that the food index rose by 9.7 per cent in September, down from 10.0 per cent recorded in August.
It said: “The ease in the increase in food prices was as a result of slower increases in all groups that contribute to the index. This was in contrast to observations in August were a broad array of food groups that contribute to the index pushed the index higher.
“On a month-on-month basis, the highest price increases were recorded in the potatoes, yam and other tubers, bread and cereals, meat and fruit groups. The average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending in September 2014 over the previous twelve month average was 9.5 percent. The twelve month rate of change has held steady for four months.”
Similarly, urban and rural prices eased in September, after rising at a faster pace for four consecutive months.
The urban CPI rose by 8.4 percent, down from 8.7 percent in August, while the rural component rose by 8.2 percent down from 8.4 percent in the previous month.
However, on a month-on-month basis, urban prices increased at the same pace in September as observed in August, according to the NBS.
The core index, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural products, remained firm for the second consecutive month in September as prices rose by 6.3 per cent (year-on-year).
Through the first nine months of the year, prices captured by the core sub- index had grown by an average of 7.1 per cent or 0.6 percentage points than the corresponding period last year.
It added: “The fastest increases were recorded in books and stationeries as a result of the start of the academic year, appliances, articles and products for personal care, non-durable household goods, and furniture and furnishings groups.
“The average 12-month annual rate of rise of the index was recorded at 7.2 per cent for the 12-month period ending in September 2014, down from the 12-month rate recorded in August which stood at 7.2 per cent.”