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Missing budget: Saraki rushes to Aso Rock

By Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja
12 January 2016   |   3:53 pm
AMIDST uncertainties surrounding the whereabout of the 2016 Appropriation Bill submitted to the National Assembly in December last year, the Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki has met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting between the two leaders in his office lasted for over one hour. But the Senate President declined…
Saraki

Saraki

AMIDST uncertainties surrounding the whereabout of the 2016 Appropriation Bill submitted to the National Assembly in December last year, the Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki has met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting between the two leaders in his office lasted for over one hour. But the Senate President declined comments on the missing budget when confronted by State House correspondents.

It was not clear whether Saraki came to see the President over the missing documents which were personally laid before a joint sitting of the Legislature December 22, 2015 by the President.

Saraki’s meeting with Buhari came less than two hours after the resumed session of the National Assembly, when the Leader of the Senate Mohammed Ali Ndume stunned his colleagues when he told them that both the hard and soft copies of the 2016 budget had been stolen.

Ndume’s revelations contradicted the positions of the Ministers of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her Information and Culture counterpart, Lai Mohammed, who categorically told State House correspondents after the first Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that the budget as presented by the President was intact.

When pressed for comments on it by State House correspondents, Saraki exclaimed “ah, ah,” and rushed into his waiting car.

Both Mohammed and Adeosun had denied media reports, especially in the social media that the budget had been withdrawn, owing allegedly to what had been described as inflated figures in some of the sectoral allocations.

Adeosun, had, however, noted that the normal interactive passage of the budget was going to take place, whereby ministers and heads of agencies defend their budgetary allocations during which whatever necessary amendments could be made to the budget since the National Assembly is not a rubber stamp.

While insisting that the 2016 Budget had not been withdrawn from the National Assembly, the two ministers declared that the Buhari administration would however, not condone ‎the padding of budgetary allocations via ministerial lobbying.

Adeosun explained further that the FEC meeting‎‎ chaired by Buhari deliberated on initiatives to plug revenue leakages in government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

She said the MDAs were reminded of their duty to respect the Fiscal Responsibility Act, especially with regard to those of them that spend their revenues without appropriation.