Baring any last minutes change, a detailed clean copy of the 2016 budget will be ready today for onward transmission to the President for assent.
Recall that the Presidency, last week, said the passed budget would not be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari because it did not contain the details.
But reacting, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumuni Jibrin, said some previous administrations in the country, especially former President Olusagun Obasanjo, during his time signed the budget without the details which were made available two weeks latter.
However, a member of the Appropriation Committee, Joseph Edionwele, representing Esan Centra/Esan West/Igueben Federal Constituency of Edo State, told our reporter that there was no cause for alarm as the joint committee would meet today to produce the clean copy for onward transmission to the President.
Edionwele said necessary reconciliations had been concluded and that the final copy with the details would be ready at today’s meeting. Also speaking to our reporter on why the details of the budget were not submitted to the Presidency, member representing Akoko Edo Federal Constituency of Edo State in the House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason, said the National Assembly had to submit the passed 2016 budget to the Presidency without the details to satisfy the curiosity of Nigerians.
Akpatason, a former National President of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, said there was nothing wrong in submitting the passed budget to the Presidency without the details.
He said: “The ideal thing is to send in the details when they are available, but in the circumstance that we find ourselves, if the details are not immediately available, I think it is proper that the President be given the information that he has already. I don’t think there is anything unusual.”
“Again, what is going on just now is also not completely new that the highlights have been forwarded to the President and you take your time to cross the ‘t’s and dot the ‘i’s to make sure that the kind of stories that happened at the beginning will not happen in this case.
“I think that is what is going on, Nigerians are anxious, so it is understandable why people are getting so curious about it. The budget proposal was not submitted early enough in the first place and then because of the challenges that followed at the beginning, the passage equally took much longer time
On why the National Assembly decided to send the highlights of the budget to the Presidency for assent without the details, the lawmaker, who is of the All Progressives Congress, APC, said it was so “so that we can satisfy the curiosity of Nigerian people.”
However, there was an indication, yesterday, that the Presidency and the National Assembly might clashed again, if President Buhari insisted that the details in the passed budget would have allocations to various ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, as was proposed in the budget document.
The signal to this emanates from the comments by the House Committee Chairman on Appropriation who had maintained that it was the duty of the executive to propose, while the legislature appropriates.
He also said the National Assembly would not abdicate its constitutional role to any other arm of government, adding that globally, there was no way the budget proposal prepared by the executive would remain the same as when it was sent to the parliament for appropriations.