Pres. Buhari declines to sign 2016 budget, suspects foul play

By The Citizen
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President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to sign the 2016 budget passed last week by the National Assembly because of suspected foul play by legislators.

The President, it was learnt, has already received the budget, but it was, however, without details as to where the lawmakers made adjustments to the original proposal that was sent to them.

According to a reliable Presidential source, Buhari is anxious to sign the Appropriation Bill into law but the National Assembly only sent highlights without the details of what they eventually passed.

The source noted that the President, as a result, has been handicapped in signing the bill because he does not know what was contained in the details and what adjustments the National Assembly must have made to the proposal sent to them.

According to the source, although Buhari was anxious to sign the document so that its implementation could start immediately to ease the tension in the economy and polity; he was afraid he might later discover, when the details are sent, that what is contained therein would not be implementable.

The source said the President wished the National Assembly could send in the details speedily so that it could be considered for assent.

The source also said ministers were eager that the budget be signed so they could start implementing their programmes, but they were unable to push the President to sign what had been transmitted because they also did not know what is contained in the details.

'The ministers are particularly worried that the year is gradually aging and the provision of the law in respect of spending the previous year's budget is not helping matters because of the low capital provision for 2015,' he said.

The source further said: 'Because of the low provision made last year for capital expenditure, spending 50 per cent of that provision for the first half of this year will make no impact on provision of infrastructure.

'The Budget Office cannot also work on the budget for implementation because it is the details, and not the highlights, that they convert into implementable templates for the respective MDAs.

'This development confirms speculations that the National Assembly either did not complete work on the budget or are playing politics with the documents which affects the lives of both the country and its citizens.

'The National Assembly may just have passed the bill to pass the buck to the executive and escape the wrath of the public which was gradually suspecting it of sabotage.' It would be recalled that the National Assembly last week Wednesday passed a N6.06 trillion budget, reducing the proposal submitted by the President by N17 billion.

The President had proposed N6.07 trillion, but it was slashed to N6.06 trillion. - National Mirror.