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Senate begins Budget consideration today …why I made changes to fiscal document – Buhari

By The Citizen
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The Senate will today commence consideration of the 2016 budget proposal, the Senate President Bukola Saraki said on Tuesday.

The Senators resolved to commence the debate after the letter written by President Muhammadu Buhari on the budget controversy was adopted.

Our correspondent reports that the resolution laid to rest the controversies trailing the fiscal document.

President Buhari had in a letter read by Saraki urged the legislators to use the copies submitted last week.

The Senators had raised alarm that two versions of 2016 budget are in circulation.

But in his letter, Buhari says, 'This is the version the National Assembly should work with as my 2016 budget estimates. The draft bill remains the same and there are no changes in any of the figures”.

Speaking after the President’s letter was adopted; Saraki said copies of the 2016 budget proposal would be made available to the Senators immediately.

He said the consideration of the budget will start on Wednesday and that it may end next Tuesday.

'We will start our debate tomorrow (Wednesday). The most important thing is the content of the budget and how it will improve the lives of the masses,' he said.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday explained why corrections had been made to the details of the 2016 budget as presented on December 22, 2015 before the National Assembly.

His reasons were contained in a letter to the House of Representatives as read by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara in Abuja.

The President's letter reads in part: 'It will be recalled that on Tuesday, 22 December, 2015, I presented my 2016 budget proposals to the joint sitting of the National Assembly.

'I submitted a draft bill accompanied by a schedule of details.

'At the time of submission, we indicated that because the details had just been produced, we would have to check to ensure that there were no errors in the detailed breakdown contained in the schedule.

'That has since been completed and I understand that the corrections have been submitted.'

'The National Assembly would therefore have the details as submitted on the 22nd and a copy containing the corrections submitted last week. It appears that this has led to some confusion.

'In this regard, please find attached the corrected version.

'This is the version the National Assembly should work with as my 2016 budget estimates.

The draft bill remains the same and there are no changes in any of the figures.'