Budget 2016: Buhari, FEC to Study details

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In consequence of President Buhari receiving details of the 2016 budget from the National Assembly yesterday, the Federal Executive Council will have an emergency meeting today.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this.

 The news Agency Daily Trust reports that another top government stated that the details of the budget would be forwarded to all ministers between yesterday and today for a review.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week insisted that he would critically review the Appropriation Bill before assenting to it.

There was also confirmation that the executive would go through the details of the budget, see the corrections and take steps on implementation.

“Between today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today), the budget details will be forwarded to the ministers to start reviewing and seeing the corrections and also taking steps on how to implement them. They want to do things based on facts, not lies,” he said.

The source said the ministers would go through the details of the budget “within a short time.”

But asked how long the budget review would last, he simply said: “The ministers are the ones supervising the ministries.”

On when the president would sign the budget, the source said: “First, he (Buhari) has to go through the details and within a short period, then the world will know about it (signing).

“All the budgets done in the past, this is the normal process. Executive will have to go through the details after getting it from the legislature before assenting to it. That is the normal procedure.”

On whether the review of the budget was based on any suspicion of a foul play, he said: “Whether we are suspicious or not, that is the normal procedure, and we would not be the first or the last to go through the procedure.”

Speaking to reporters shortly after the submission of the document to the Clerk of the National Assembly on Wednesday, the chairman of the House committee on appropriation, Rep Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC, Kano) confirmed that they had made some changes in the budget.

He said: “We have just submitted the details of the 2016 appropriation bill to the Clerk to the National Assembly for onward transmission to the executive arm of government.
He said the budget might not be exactly the same one the president sent it to them as there were inputs from lawmakers.

“Just like any other year, you always have to come to the situation where there is what the executive arm of government wants and what the legislative arm wants.
Source at the National Assembly told Daily Trust that the changes made to the budget were in the area of  subheads and that no committee reduced the main envelop as proposed by the executive.

The source added that the lawmakers considered many factors in doing so, including balance of projects among the six geopolitical zones among others.
“Well, what we did was just movement of funds. We only prioritised items based on region.

“For example, where we saw that a particular region was allocated too many funds, we reduced it and took to other regions for balance.

“Again, we considered our being representatives of the people. In this regard, we had to set aside funds for members to state the kind of projects they want in their various constituencies.

“Basically that was what we did. We didn’t reduce funds from any ministry. Of course the law allows the National Assembly to appropriate, which is exactly what we did,” the source said.

Asked about the reduction of N17 billion made by the appropriation committees of both the Senate and the House of Reps, the source said “what they reduced was from the overhead cost and not from capital components.

“There were places that the two committees in their own wisdom observed that the overhead provisions were too much, so they had to reduce that.”

There have been rumors and speculation that the President would be travelling to China in a bid to obtain a $2b loan to cover the N3trillion deficit in the budget. It is believed the President will have assented the bill before this trip after careful study.

 

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