House of Representatives yesterday said it will transmit the details of the 2016 budget to the executive in two weeks.
The National Assembly, it will be recalled, finally passed the budget of N6.06trillion on Wednesday last week with a reduction of N17 billion.
The document was subsequently transmitted to the Presidency within 24 hours by the Office of the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr. Salisu Maikasuwa.
But investigation had revealed that over a week, details of the budget are yet to get to President Muhammadu Buhari for signing.
The media is awash with reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has withheld his signature from the 2016 budget, accusing the National Assembly of playing politics with the procedures for the appropriation document and sabotaging the executive arm of government.
The two chambers of the National Assembly had last Thursday passed the N6.06 trillion budget, paving the way for presidential assent by Muhammadu Buhari, but reports said the details of the fiscal policy document were yet to be officially transmitted to the Presidency.
Nigerians are becoming anxious to know when the budget would be signed into law, bearing in mind that the National Assembly is currently on Easter break, while Buhari is on official trip to Washington, United States, for the Nuclear Security Summit.
Addressing House Press Corps on the development, Chairman of Appropriations Committee, Hon. Abdulmumin Jubrin, explained that the president could still go ahead and sign the budget even without the details.
Jubrin cited similar case during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure, adding that he went ahead to sign the budget without the details.
He hinted that besides the series of challenges they encountered in the budget, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, came very late.
The committee chairman, however, said it was not abnormal for the president not to sign the budget without seeing the budget details.
According to him, “We have passed the budget and at the moment, we are working on the details.
“There is nothing that has happened so far that is abnormal and also just as you have read on pages of newspapers and of course I have also read such insinuations, including the ones that we all read today which they alleged that it was an information from a top official of the Presidency.
“Let me put it straight and clear that I doubt that such a statement could come from the presidency, knowing fully the challenges that we went through during the budgeting process.
“We in the National Assembly believe this is the most difficult budget we have ever dealt with because you all recall that the MTEF came very, very late but we accepted it and dealt with it. The budget itself came very late; we accepted and dealt with it.
“Even while we were dealing with all such realities, multiple budget details came up and we were able to manage the situation in a very friendly manner with the executive arm of government. Of course, they took responsibility for that even while that was going again, during the budget defence by standing committees of the House, a lot of members of the executive arm of government came to the National Assembly and disowned the details in their various budget lines.
“When all these things have taken place we would all agree that it will be very difficult for anybody to sit and start throwing stone at the National Assembly.
“We have been working day and night, we are doing our best; we have been very generous to the executive arm of government.
“With all these series of challenges in the course of working on the budget, I doubt very much that the executive arm of government or Presidency knowing fully what has transpired in the last few months will be throwing stones at the National Assembly.
“As I have mentioned earlier that there is nothing abnormal, it is a normal practise for the National Assembly to send the appropriation bill estimates to the President.
“It is also nothing abnormal for the President not to assent to it before seeing the details or after seeing the details. We have instances of President Obasanjo signing the budget without the details, we came to Yar’Adua who always preferred to see the details.
“So if President Muhammadu Buhari prefers to see the details before assenting to the bill, I don’t think we should make a big deal out of it. It is absolutely normal.
“For us in the National Assembly, we are trying not to make the same mistake the executive arm made. I can recall that myself and Senator Goje actually advised the budget team because of the hasty manner in which you prepared the budget and send to us.
“We would take a week or two to work on the details. Now we are looking at the reports that were submitted to the appropriations committee by the standing committees of the House. We are doing the final harmonisation checks here and there, that should not take a week or two before transmitting to the executive.


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  • vic

    HOUSE OF THIEVES TALKING SMOOTH AS IF IT IS ALL NORMAL.

    THESE THIEVES KNEW THAT THE PASSAGE OF BUDGET WAS BEING DELAYED SO THEY SHOULD HAVE STAYED BEHIND AND WORKED ON THE BUDGET DETAILS BEFORE PROCEEDING ON EASTER HOLIDAYS IN NATIONAL INTEREST. CLEARLY, THESE ARE INCORRIGIBLE SELFISH POT-BELLY UNPATRIOTIC LOOTERS WHO ONLY KNOW HOW TO STEAL.