Appropriation Committee Chairmen Beg Nass Members To Reconsider 2016 Budget
BEVERLY HILLS, April 25, (THEWILL) – The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje and his House of Reps counterpart, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin have pleaded with their colleagues in the National Assembly to change their stance on not reconsidering the 2016 budget, except a supplementary budget is presented to them by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The duo, who were accused of unilaterally allocating constituency projects worth billions of naira to their constituencies, however described as unfounded the allegations leveled against them in the course of finalising work on the 2016 budget.
While they were accused of removing the N60bn Calabar-Lagos rail project and allocating more funds to the Lagos-Kano rail project in the budget, Jibrin was specifically alleged to have allocated constituency projects of over N4bn to Bebeji federal constituency of Kano State which he represents.
The purported tinkering with the budget by the appropriation committee chairmen has been blamed for Buhari's reluctance to assent to the budget, resulting in an impasse with the National Assembly which had asked him to assent to the Appropriation Bill and present a supplementary budget that would address any areas of concern.
But in a joint statement issued on Sunday, the Appropriation Committee chairmen maintained that they intend to respond to all allegations leveled against them at the appropriate time, adding however that what was more important was to resolve the budget impasse and get it assented to so that its implementation could take off in the interest of all Nigerians.
“For now, what we consider important is to resolve the impasse around the budget and get it assented to, so that its implementation can begin in the interest of Nigerians,” they stated.
The lawmakers said there had been a lot of misinformation, misrepresentation and innuendos about the roles played by the joint Committees on Appropriation in the course of passing the budget, adding: “However, we must put it on record that the details aggregated and transmitted to the executive are largely the inputs we received from the standing committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“Given the foregoing, and all factors considered, we hereby state that we have had enough controversy over the 2016 budget. What is needful right now is a resolution of the differences and to that end, we call on our colleagues in the National Assembly to accede to the request by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to have a second look at the details and make the necessary adjustments so that he can give his assent. This, in our opinion, should not go beyond this week.
“To the extent that there are already ongoing consultations, a debate about who is right or wrong is unhelpful in the circumstance; and in any case, does not advance the cause of our countrymen and women whose interest we have been elected to serve.”
They however commended Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki, House Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the entire members of the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council, the Minister of Budget and National Planning and the budget team for their cooperation, and assured Nigerians that they would always do everything to protect and defend their interest.