Buhari's padded budget: Matters arising
By Deji Adeyanju
We have watched the interview granted by Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin to @ChannelsTv & followed his “revelations” with growing concern & bemusement. His revelations raise more questions than they give answers.
2. The entire ruckus caused by these allegations & counter allegations call the integrity of #Budget2016 to question. This entire budget process has been an absolute fiasco.
3. It is imperative to point out that at the onset President Buhari proposed a N6.08tr budget. This is the same figure as the budget passed by NASS. On the surface, this fact looks innocuous but is the foundation upon which the entire sham is founded.
4. It is also worthy to note that reviews carried out by many Nigerians indicate that the budget as presented by the President was full of inflated figures & frivolous allocations.
5. The Presidency then raised an alarm about insertions into the budget at the National Assembly. The Presidency further stated that Mr. President would not sign the budget until “it was cleaned up”. You will recall that this caused further delay in Mr President assenting to the budget.
6. This whole sham begs many questions:
a. Is this the cleaned up version about which Hon. Jibrin speaks?
b. Why is Hon. Jibrin only just speaking now after being relieved of his post as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee? Would he have spoken up if he had not been relieved?
c. Was Mr. President aware of that the budget he presented to NASS was “padded” by his ministers & presidential aides as Hon. Jibrin alleged in his interviews? How did the Presidency miss these “insertions” at NASS despite engaging in a clean up? Or did the Presidency allow them remain?
d. Are “insertions” into the budget by members of NASS illegal or do they constitute part of the oversight powers granted to legislators by the Constitution?
e. Should members of NASS be allowed to make “insertions” into the budget? These & other questions require answers.
7. It is more than a little depressing that as at today 01/08/2016 we are still debating the integrity of #Budget2016 and not the percentages of performance.
8. In 30 days, the APC led FG is required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act to submit the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the 2017 budget & the APC led NASS is required to commence the process of approving it.
9. In the light of the current circumstance, we are hard pressed to see how this requirement will be fulfilled within the time frame required by law.
10. Above all, we must realise that this presents an opportunity to reform the budgeting process to ensure that such a charade never occurs again.
11. Hopefully, the APC will soon put its in-house squabbles behind it & pay attention to the task for which it was elected – governance.
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