Senate gives President final warning over 2016 budget

Senate gives President final warning over 2016 budget





The Senate has given a final warning to
the Presidency over the controversy
surrounding the 2016 budget. »


There has been a series of back and forth
between the legislature and the executive
over the budget especially due to the
supposed removal of provisions for the
Calabar – Lagos rail project from the final
budget.


The Senate’s warning was contained in a
statement released by spokesman, Senator
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi on Monday, April 11,
2016.
It reads in part:


“While the executive is mandated to prepare
and lay before the National Assembly a
proposed budget detailing projects to be
executed, it should be made clear that the
responsibility and power of appropriation lie
with the National Assembly.


“If the presidency expects us to return the
budget proposal to them without any
adjustments, then some people must be
living in a different era and probably have
not come to terms with democracy. We
make bold to say, however, that the said
Lagos-Calabar rail project was not included
in the budget proposal presented to the
National Assembly by President
Muhammadu Buhari, and we challenge
anyone who has any evidence to the
contrary to present such to Nigerians.


“Since the beginning of the 2016 budget
process, it is clear that the National
Assembly has suffered all manners of
falsehood, deliberate distortion of facts, and
outright blackmail, deliberately aimed at
poisoning the minds of the people against
the institution of the National Assembly. We
have endured this with equanimity in the
overall interest of Nigerians.


“Even when the original submission was
surreptitiously swapped and we ended up
having two versions of the budget, which
was almost incomprehensible and heavily
padded in a manner that betrays lack of
coordination and gross incompetence, we
refused to play to the gallery and instead
helped the Executive to manage the hugely
embarrassing situation it has brought upon
itself; but enough is enough.


“This latest antics of this particular minister
of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is
reckless, uncalled for and dangerously
divisive. Apart from setting the people of
the southern part of the country against
their northern compatriots, it potentially
sets the people against their lawmakers
from the concerned constituencies and sets
the lawmakers against themselves.


“This manner of reprehensible mischief has
no place in a democracy. We hereby
demand from Mr. Amaechi a publicly
tendered apology if he is not able to show
evidence that the Lagos-Calabar rail project
was included in the budget. Otherwise, he
should resign forthwith.


“Finally, by the provision of Section 81 (4)
(a) and (b) of the constitution, the President
is allowed to sign the budget and kick-start
the implementation of the other areas that
constitute over 90 per cent of the budget
where there is agreement between both
arms, even as we engage ourselves to
resolve the contentious areas, if there were
any.


“We, therefore, maintain that even these
contrived discrepancies are not sufficient
excuse not to sign the budget into law. We,
therefore, urge President Buhari to sign the
2016 budget without any further delay.


For every additional day that the president
withholds his assent from the bill, the
hardship in the land, which is already
becoming intolerable for the masses of our
people gets even more complicated.


Certainly, as primary representatives of the
people, we shall not vacate our
responsibility and watch the people
continue to suffer unduly.”



The budget has been the centre of
controversy since it was reported missing
» from the Assembly premises in January.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki later said
that two different versions » of the
document had been submitted to the
legislative house.


The controversy led to the sacking of the
Director General of the budget office,
Yahaya Gusau and the redeployment of 22
officials » from the Ministry of Budget and
National Planning.


The budget was finally passed on March 23,
2016 after the Senate and the House of
Representatives both received the requisite
report from the Joint Committee on
Appropriation.


The controversy did not stop there however
as President Buhari refused to sign the
budget without being aware of the final
details which were yet to be sent by the
Assembly.
The details were eventually sent to the
president on April 7. »



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Posted by Adeapin. Francis adebayo., Published at Tuesday, April 12, 2016 and have 0 comments

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