President Muhammadu Buhari at the last minute on Friday postponed the emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council which he summoned to consider the 2016 Budget.
All ministers arrived the Presidential Villa, Abuja ahead of the 10am scheduled commencement time of the meeting before they were informed of the postponement.
Those who arrived early were making their ways into the Council Chambers when they were told by members of staff of the Protocol Unit that the meeting had been called off.
Some of them initially doubted the authenticity of the information as they gathered inside the chambers’ Tea Room to discuss the development.
They made desperate attempts to find out what was responsible for the development.
The ministers later gathered in front of the chambers as more of their colleagues joined them.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, later told State House correspondents that the meeting was postponed to allow them reflect some of the corrections made on the 2016 Budget proposal during a meeting of the National Economic Council held on Thursday.
He said ministers were expected to do some “rejigging of figures” and return for the meeting on Monday afternoon.
Mohammed said, “The meeting was not cancelled. It was postponed till Monday afternoon.
“The reason is that you know there was a meeting of the National Economic Council yesterday (Thursday).
” At that meeting, many of the key cabinet members made presentations. There were some fallouts from those presentations that will necessitate going back to the original document that should have been discussed today.
“So, we were given time between now and Monday to go and rejig our figures because when the NEC met, certain issues were thrown up that if they were not resolved, would distort the entire budget proposal. So we will all go back, each ministry will do its rejiging.”
Buhari is expected to present the budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
When asked on Thursday whether the President will submit the budget personally to the National Assembly or send it through a minister as was done in the recent past, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said the details would be made public later.
The FEC had at its last meeting approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework which was forwarded to the National Assembly.
The lawmakers have since approved the MTEF.