OrderPaperToday– Following discoveries of errors, paddings, over-bloated overhead expenditure of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other controversies trailing the 2016 budget, the National Assembly has disclosed that the February 25th deadline earlier set for its passage is no longer achievable.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje and the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumuni Jibrin make this revelation today in Abuja, while briefing journalists on the status of work done on the budget by the National Assembly.
Recall that days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari decried the activities of so-called budget mafia in the public service which found ways of padding, over-inflating and muddling up the budget proposal against the intention of the administration.
According to the committee chairmen, the clarification by the National Assembly has become imperative because of the recent controversies surrounding the budget and the desire of the legislature to pass into law a budget that contains no ambiguities and implementable when assented to by the President.
The lawmakers said that for them to produce an acceptable and implementable budget document, the “February 25 date is no longer realistic because we need more time to do a thorough job”.
They said the Presidency on behalf of the executive arm of government had admitted that the budget being considered by the National Assembly contains detected errors, paddings and over bloated expenditure profiles.
Goje promised that the National Assembly will follow all due process in the passage of the budget, adding that “we don’t want to pass a budget that will return to us. We need to remove all ambiguities and paddings”.
For Jibrin, he did not heap blames on President Muhammadu Buhari for the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget, saying that the “National Assembly understands the President will not be able to go through the budget page by page, so it will be inappropriate to blame the President. The budget defence sessions in the National Assembly has witnessed disagreements between various ministers and top civil servants”.
On reports of the existence of tension between the Presidency and the National Assembly over the budget, Goje denied that and said the legislature cannot give a new definite date when the budget will be passed into law by the National Assembly, since it “is a continuous interaction with the executive arm of government until the budget is passed.
“We’re all on the same page on this issue. The shift will not affect the implementation of the budget as it has a 12 months life span”.