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Budget signing delayed as National Assembly withholds details

30 March 2016, 06:33

Abuja - President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that he will not sign the 2016 Budget Appropriation Bill into law until details of the documents are released to him by the National Assembly.

According to a Punch report, Buhari is set to return to the country during the weekend following a trip to Washington, while the Senate remains on Easter break.

A government official has revealed that Buhari remains unable to sign the document due to a lack of knowledge surrounding the document.

“The President has just received the transmission of the Appropriation Bill (2016 Budget) from the National Assembly and is very anxious to sign it into law, but the National Assembly only sent in the highlights without the details of the budget.

“Although he is anxious to sign the document so that implementation of the provisions could start immediately and ease the tension in the economy and polity, he is afraid he may later discover, when the details are sent, that what is contained therein is not implementable.

“He wishes that the National Assembly could send the details speedily so that it could be considered for assent.

“Ministers are also eager that the budget be signed so they could start implementing their programmes, but they are unable to push the President to sign what has been transmitted because they also do not know what is contained in the details.

“They are particularly worried that the year is gradually aging and the provision of the law in respect of spending the previous year’s budget is not helping matters because of the low capital provision for 2015.

Also read: Senate passes 2016 budget

“Because of the low provision made last year for capital expenditure, spending 50 per cent of that provision for the first half of this year will make no impact on the provision of infrastructure.”

In addition, the source disclosed that the delay in the passing on of details has led to many suspecting that lawmakers did not conclude work on the document.

“The Budget Office cannot also work on the budget for implementation because it is the details, and not the highlights, that they convert into implementable templates for the respective MDAs.

“The National Assembly may just have passed the bill to pass the buck to the executive and escape the wrath of the public which was gradually suspecting it of sabotage,” he said.

While Buhari passed a budget of N6.06 trillion last week, House Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, said the legislature had played its own part and that it was not the responsibility of lawmakers to "complain for Mr. President on his action."

Namdas has further stated that the President is aware of the problems faced by the country and that further prompting to sign the budget into law was not required.

Read more at Punch

- News24


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