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National Assembly Fails To Lay 2016 Budget Despite Promises

Source: thewillnigeria.com

SAN FRANCISCO, March 17, (THEWILL) – The National Assembly on Thursday failed to fulfil its promise to lay the 2016 budget preparatory to its consideration and passage.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, had told reporters that the budget would be laid on Thursday; however, the budget was not listed in the Order Paper of the Senate and House of Representatives.

At a joint press briefing by the two chambers, Sabi and his counterpart in the House of Representatives Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, claimed that the delays in the laying of the document was due to ‘cleaning and integration’.

Namdas described the budget as “something very technical and tedious and if you recall, this is a very voluminous document.”

As such, the National Assembly, he said, does not “want to rush just because we want to keep to a promise that Wednesday the budget must be passed.”

“What the National Assembly owe Nigerians is a budget that is implementable, a budget that will kick-start the reflection of our national economy; a budget that will help to create jobs and therefore stimulate our economic rebirth.

“For those of you who know statistics, in everything you do, you must give freedom for degree of error.

“It is better we do things that will be applauded by the entire country than to rush and make some few mistakes,” he said, adding that the two Appropriation Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives “must integrate, harmonise and consolidate” the budget before it could be laid.

Despite the three postponements on the passage of the document, on February 24, March 16 and 17, Sabi insisted that the National Assembly has not failed. The Appropriation Committees, he said, are currently at the ‘technical and tedious’ stage of the process.

On the reported 25 errors in the budget, Sabi who doubles as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, said the Legislature would not ‘lend credence to rumours’, describing it as a figment of imagination of its sponsors.

Submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 22, 2015, the budget has been shrouded in controversies of padding and errors.

Story by David Oputah