Budget: Ministers Usurping Buhari’s Powers – NASS | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Budget: Ministers Usurping Buhari’s Powers – NASS

Posted: Apr 11, 2016 at 7:29 pm   /   by   /   comments (1)
The leadership of the House of Representatives on Monday opened the can of worms on the lingering crisis over the padding of the 2016 budget proposal sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The House specifically, accused members of the Buhari’s cabinet of unilaterally proposing new projects to be inserted into the 2016 budget without the express approval of the Presidency.
The House further alleged that the Lagos-Calabar railway project was one of such projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Transport which was initiated during the budget defence but was turned down at the peak of the alleged padding of the budget which led to the sack of some top government officials.
Abdulrasak Namdas, chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, who stated this at a press briefing held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, however, said: “The media is awash with story that the National Assembly has removed the Calabar- Lagos railway project from the budget. I want to make it very clear that we don’t have that in the presentation made by the President to the National Assembly, so we couldn’t have removed what was not even inserted in the first place.
“I have here with me the Appropriations bill which you can check. In this budget by Mr. President we don’t have the Calabar-Lagos railway project.
“It was the Minister of Transport that brought the Calabar- Lagos railway to be included in the budget. We want to state clearly, that the budget is something that is proposed by the President we do not receive budget from Minister.
“So for somebody to say that we actually removed the Calarbar- Lagos railway project from the budget, I think someone is trying to smear our good image.
“We want to state again that all that was sent to the National Assembly from the supplementary budget and others had a smooth scale. And it is on record that on this budget, some people lost their jobs because of this budget, the Executive have admitted that some bureaucrats tampered with the budget.
“In the interest of this country, if we pass the budget and transmit it to the President and the President discovered some things that he want to be included he should send the budget back and we will take a look at it but right now, there is no official notice to the National Assembly that the President will not sign the budget.
“It’s the Minister of Transport, it’s in the papers that the Minister of Transport presented another additional estimate to the committee on Senate but not to the joint sitting and we receive things from the President, not the ministers.