National Assembly Reacts To Buhari’s Budget ‘Padding’ Allegation

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The National Assembly leadership has spoken on the concerned raised by President Muhammadu Buhari on the manipulation of the 2018 budget estimates sent to the lawmakers.

Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday signed the N9.1 trillion 2018 appropriation bill into law in his office at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

In his speech during the budget signing, Muhammadu Buhari observed that “The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.”

He said many of the projects cut were essential ones while many of those inserted were not relevant to the federal government.

The president also complained of the period it took the National Assembly to pass the budget. He said he submitted the budget on November 7, 2018 with a view to passage by December 2018.

In their reaction the deputy leader of the Senate Bala Na’ Allah  who represented Senate President Bukola Saraki, and the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Doguwa, who represented Speaker Yakubu Dogara, said the lawmakers had no option than to tinker with the budget estimates.

The senator also said they decided to alter the budget in order “to balance between the six geo political zones” across the country.

On his part, Alhassan  Doguwa said “certainly you wouldn’t expect us to just rubber stamp and just bring it back. We have to do the nitty-gritty of budget consideration.”

The chief whip also said they had to tinker with the budget because “whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well and we have done what we think is the right thing to do to deliver on the expectations and the mandate bestowed on us by the people of our constituencies.”

Muhammadu Buhari had also said because of the tinkering, he would be forced to submit a supplementary budget for the consideration of lawmakers.

The two principal officers gave assurances that they would consider and pass it faster than the main budget.

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