Buhari To Return 2016 Budget As Fec Detects Padding By N’assembly
BEVERLY HILLS, April 10, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari is set to return the 2016 Budget to the National Assembly to rework as the executive has discovered fresh padding of the fiscal document sent by the lawmakers on Thursday for assent.
Reports indicate that the discovery was discussed at the emergency Federal Executive meeting presided over by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Friday.
The details of the controversial 2016 budget had been transmitted to him and he promised to go through them before appending his signature before travelling to China on Sunday.
However, after the budget was scrutinised by the cabinet, it was learnt that the lawmakers reduced amounts allocated to some major projects and inserted what was not originally included in the budget by the executive.
By implication, Buhari will not sign the Appropriation Bill into law, as earlier planned, before jetting out of the country this weekend to China for economic and business deals for Nigeria as the executive will engage in a fresh round of discussion with the National Assembly.
Among the key projects removed from the budget by the lawmakers are the Calabar-Lagos coastal rail line for which Buhari had made a provision of N60 billion in the 2016 estimates which is one of the key issues taking Buhari to China.
The lawmakers also reduced the amount set aside for the completion of the Idu/Kaduna railway project, which has reached an advanced stage of completion, by N8.7 billion.
Also, allocations for the purchase of essential drugs for major health campaigns like polio and AIDS for which the store is fast depleting, were removed but budget was allocated to the provision of ambulance, which the health ministry did not ask for.
It was also observed that certain provisions made in the areas of agriculture and water resources to further the Federal Government's diversification project were either removed or reduced while the funds were moved to provisions of rural health facilities and boreholes, for which provisions have been made elsewhere.
Another major area noticed was the completion of on-going road projects. While the executive in the budget provided for the completion of all major road projects, the National Assembly reduced the amounts budgeted for them and instead, inserted new road projects which studies have not even been conducted.
Story by David Oputah