‘MISSING BUDGET’: Another Technical Trick By Ita Enang to Frustrate Buhari

The hard and soft copies of the 2016 budget documents President
Muhammadu Buhari handed over to the National Assembly on
December 22, 2015, have been declared missing, PREMIUM TIMES
can authoritatively report.
The Nigerian Senate was scheduled to commence deliberation on
the proposed budget Tuesday (today).
But Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, shocked lawmakers at a closed-
door session, when he told them the budget documents had been
stolen, people familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Ndume, our sources said, explained that deliberation on the
budget could therefore not begin until fresh copies of the
documents were obtained from the presidency, the Ministry of
Finance or that of national planning.
The Chairman, Senate Committee of Appropriation, Danjuma
Goje, was subsequently mandated to lead a search for the
documents and liaise with the presidency, the Senior Special
Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita
Enang, and the national planning ministry on the matter.
The Senators also resolved that the matter be kept under wraps,
saying making it public could embarrass the presidency, the
National Assembly and the country.
Our sources said senators of the Peoples Democratic Party
accused the presidency of being behind the theft of the
documents, an accusation rejected by their All Progressives
Congress’ counterparts, who reportedly said it was too early to
speculate.
Some lawmakers told PREMIUM TIMES they are suspicious that
the presidency might have colluded with the management of the
National Assembly to quietly withdraw the documents after
detecting some discrepancies in them.
“Can you imagine this kind of national embarrassment?” one
senator asked. “Documents that were presented to us with fanfare
have been stolen.”
The spokesperson for the senate, Aliyu Abdullahi,could not been
reached for comments. So also is Mr. Goje, the chairman of the
appropriation committee.
President Buhari had on December 22,2015 presented a N6.08
trillion budget for the fiscal year 2016 to a joint session of the
National Assembly.
It was the first time in three years a Nigerian President would
personally present a budget before the National Assembly.
Copies were however not distributed to lawmakers before they
proceeded on Christmas and New Year holidays.
But weeks after the budget was presented to lawmakers, there
were speculations that Mr. Buhari had withdrawn the documents
to enable him to correct some discrepancies, a claim the
presidency and the national planning ministry denied.
In the budget, capital expenditure takes N1.8 trillion, marking a
significant over 300 per cent increment from the 2015 vote of
N557 billion.
According to the estimate, N396billion is voted for education,
being the largest sectoral allocation.
The health sector gets N296 billion while defence has N294 billion.
Culled from Premium Times

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