The 2016 Budget which is expected to be signed this week has been returned yet again by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly for legislative work as he is said to have picked holes in the reworked version.
According to Vanguard, the President received the re-worked 2016 Appropriation Bill from the National Assembly at around 1:15am on Tuesday and returned it by noon, making it the third time this has happened.
A meeting of principal officers and members of the review committee from both legislative chambers was called yesterday, at about 3.20pm till about 5.30pm in the Senate wing in order to reconsider the observations made by the President on the budget and ensure that the document was put in order before presentation.
Vanguard is reporting that efforts to confirm this news from the principal officers and the review committee members proved abortive. However, a source close to the committee confirmed that the President refused to touch the submitted budget due to some issues he was not comfortable with.
“The budget got to the State House at about 1.10 am and Mr. President went through it early this morning (yesterday) and still had some issues with some of the figures.
“I cannot tell you exactly what it was but I think the insertions made by the lawmakers were not significantly altered.
“You know the lawmakers had moved some allocations for key projects that are dear to the President to other areas, especially to their constituency projects.
“Of course, they have changed some but I believe Mr. President is not satisfied with the reconciliation they made. I think this is one of the reasons it was returned.”
Going further, he also disclosed that the President would assent to the budget today should the lawmakers make all the corrections and transmit the revised document to him tonight (last night).
A member of the standing committee on appropriation also said that the “President wants a situation where the insertions would be reduced to about N50 million before he will sign the budget.”
The reviewed copy sent yesterday morning did not cut substantially from the said N500 million diversion of funds to constituency projects which was reportedly giving the president headache.
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