NewsWest AfricaBuhari, National Assembly resolve 2016 budget impasse


Posted on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 16:17

Buhari, National Assembly resolve 2016 budget impasse

By Cosmas Omonhinmin Jr.

President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo©ReutersNigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to set up a committee to resolve differences with the National Assembly over the 2016 budget following a month long impasse.

The agreement to set up the committees was reached on Tuesday after Buhari met with Senate president Bukola Saraki and House of Represantatives Yakubu Dogara.

we have found a way forward and in a matter of days

"We just finished a meeting with the president and the vice-president," Saraki was quoted saying by This Day newspaper after meeting Buhari.

"We came to work out the solutions that we found in moving the budget process forward and we are happy to say that we have agreed on the way forward, and we believe that this process will be completed in a matter of days rather than weeks.

"So it is good for Nigerians and for all of us, we have found a way forward and in a matter of days, the budget will be ready for the president's assent."

The approval of the budget has stalled because of a disagreement over funds allocated to the Calabar-Lagos rail project, which the presidency says were irregularly removed by the National Assembly

On 23 March the 2016 budget was submitted to the presidency for approval.

On 4 April the presidency retaliated against the accusation made by the National Assembly that the presidency withdrew the budget documents for some modification by not approving the budget. The presidency denied this claim but has still not signed the Budget Bill.

According to reports Buhari accused the senate of padding the budget and was concerned about the removal of the N60 billion Calabar-Lagos rail project, which was at the centre of the controversy, along with the alleged diversion of funds to other projects.

The senate expressed their outrage over the rejection of the budget by the President insisting that the presidency was misleading the nation.

Senators accused the presidency of being largely uninformed of the budget processes and procedures, also saying that it was "uncoordinated, incompetent and arrogant."

The senate asked Transport minister Rotimi Amaechi, to apologise to the senators for accusing them of padding and removal of the said Calabar-Lagos rail project.

The executive and presidency on 12 April insisted that the Calabar-Lagos, Calabar-Abuja projects were part of the 2016 budget submitted by the executive to the national assembly.

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