Buhari Vows To Severely Punish Masterminds Of 2016 Budget Racket
SAN FRANCISCO, February 24, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari late Tuesday vowed to marshal out severe punishment on all those involved in the “padding” of the 2016 National Budget, which has become an embarrassment to his government.
This was as he claimed that the “unauthorised alterations” had completely changed the document from the one he presented to a joint session of the National Assembly last December.
The President, who issued this threat while addressing the Nigerian Community in Saudi Arabia, condemned the distortion of the budget proposals by entrenched interests.
Buhari was quoted by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, as saying: “The culprits will not go unpunished. I have been a military governor, petroleum minister, military Head of State and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund.
“Never had I heard the words 'budget padding'. Our Minister of Budget and National Planning did a great job with his team. The Minister became almost half his size during the time, working night and day to get the budget ready, only for some people to pad it.
“What he gave us was not what was finally being debated. It is very embarrassing and disappointing. We will not allow those who did it to go unpunished,” Buhari vowed.
He also assured members of the Nigerian community that his administration was working diligently to fulfil its campaign promises, particularly on security, unemployment, and corruption.
Reaffirming his government's zero tolerance for corruption, the President maintained that the war against corruption was a monumental task that he was determined to tackle successfully.
“We have zero tolerance for corruption and other unethical practices. We will deal decisively with anybody found wanting,” he promised members of the Nigerian community.
Buhari also used the opportunity of the gathering to brief Nigerians in Saudi Arabia on his administration's efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism in Nigeria.
“Our armed forces have done a great job of dealing decisively with Boko Haram. We are collaborating with our neighbours in the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force to handle security threats in the sub-region and we have significantly destroyed the capacity of the insurgents,” he said.
The President also spoke on efforts being made to diversify the Nigerian economy, stressing that more opportunities are now open for local and foreign investors in the country.