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Buhari summons FEC meeting to discuss budget


President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

‘Why President may delay assent’

President Muhammadu Buhari has summoned the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to once and for all iron out the grey areas in the contentious 2016 budget.

The meeting follows a briefing he received from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday on the outcome of his meetings with various stakeholders, especially the leadership of the National Assembly, to resolve their differences with the Executive arm over the budgetary allocations as contained in the document.

Meanwhile, hope that the 2016 Budget Bill will be signed into law this week continued to dim last night with revelations that a stream of factors in the National Assembly and the presidency are going to make it difficult.

“It will only take a miracle and a good measure of statesmanship in the National Assembly and the presidency for the bill to be signed into law,” a ranking National Assembly member of the Upper House said.

He disclosed that if the President opted to sign what is on his desk with “adjustments here and there” to accommodate those areas that touch the core of his agenda; and later send a supplementary bill to cover other areas; then, according to him, the “budget is good to go.”

But if the politics around the system with the “blackmail over cars, trial of the Senate head come into play,” the document will have to wait until next week or beyond.

The meeting, which took place inside the President’s office, had in attendance the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.

However, there was no official statement on the outcome of the meeting, which was dubbed “purely official”.

The meeting was preceded earlier in the day by the economic management meeting in the Vice President’s Conference Hall.

Meanwhile, a Presidency source told The Guardian last night in Abuja that the economic management meeting had no link with the budget, noting that it was purely on agriculture.

According to the source: “The meeting they had today was that of the Economic Council, and the special focus was on agriculture, so it had nothing to do with the budget. The budget own will be tomorrow (today), that is the Federal Executive Council meeting where the budget issue will be discussed there.

“They are talking, at least it is public knowledge now that the ministers over the weekend had discussions with both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Speaker also met with the Vice President on Friday.

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