Presidency, National Assembly Raise Budget Reconciliation Committee | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Presidency, National Assembly Raise Budget Reconciliation Committee

buhari and budget
Posted: Apr 28, 2016 at 3:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


…Agree To Remove Padded Constituency Projects


The presidency and the National Assembly have set up 15-member committee to resolve grey areas in the controversial 2016 Appropriations Bill.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo leads the five members of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s team with the 10 members drawn from the National Assembly.

The House of Representatives team is chaired by Yussuff Lasun, Deputy Speaker, while other members are Ibrahim Babangida; Jibrin Abdulmumin, chairman, House Committee on Finance; Binta Bello, chairman, House Committee on Appropriations; Minority Whip and one other unnamed lawmaker.

It was gathered that the committee was set up during the closed door session held on Wednesday which chaired by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

A lawmaker who does not want his name in print, said the National Assembly delegation that met with President Buhari led by Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, agreed to remove all the padded constituency projects.

The lawmaker who attended the session held before the commencement of the Wednesday plenary, said the National Assembly delegation agreed to reduce considerably the amount voted for constituency projects of the principal officers and members of both chambers.

“There were things that were inserted by the committee chairmen that were not originally in the budget like road projects; they will all be removed. So we agreed to remove anything that was not originally provided for,” he confirmed.

He added that both parties also resolved to accommodate the N60 billion proposed for Lagos-Calabar rail project as well as other critical projects highlighted in the letter sent to Saraki and Dogara last week.

When asked why the budge was not sent in line with standard legislative practice, the lawmaker noted that it would cause constitutional crisis, stressing that the National Assembly might eventually adopt the N6.066 trillion passed in the harmonised budget, which the President declined to assent to.

He said that some aggrieved lawmakers expressed displeasure over the high-handedness of the Chairmen of both the Senate and House Committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje and Jibrin Abdulmumin, who allegedly masterminded the budget crisis.

While some demanded for his removal as the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, the source disclosed that the lawmaker had earlier threatened to ‘spill the beans’.

The meeting initiated by the Presidency was aimed at resolving the crisis trailing the removal of some critical projects and reduction of the amount proposed for the 2016 budget proposal as well as insertion of unknown projects by members of the Senate and House Committee on Appropriations.

“They have resolved the problem at the meeting held with the President. Even the President also realised that it won’t be nice to continue the face-off, so he has conceded to sign the budget when we eventually send the budget back to him for assent,” chairman of one of the standing committees  had said.

When the plenary eventually opened, Speaker Yakubu Dogara did not brief the press on the outcome of the closed-door session, against the usual practice, the source said.