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Budget: Buhari writes NASS, lists grey areas

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a letter detailing the grey areas in the 2016 Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly that he wants the leadership of the federal legislature to review.

This was disclosed on Thursday in Abuja by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Abdulrazaq Namdas while briefing journalists. Rep. Namdas said that the president’s letter is coming on the heels of the prearranged parley between the President and Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara after it emerged that the presidency was unhappy over the details of the budget as transmitted by the National Assembly on April 14.

The committee chairman, however, declined to reveal the grey areas as listed in the budget by the President, as he parried questions on whether the Calabar-Lagos rail line project is included in Buhari’s letter. He also refused to explain why the letter was not read on the floor of the House during plenary, as is norm with formal communication from the President.

“You recall that last week, I told you that we mandated the Speaker to interface with Mr. President concerning the budget. I confirm today, that he met with him and we are in possession of a letter on the grey areas of the budget from the President,” Namdas said.

Laying credence to rumours that the Senate and the House of Representatives were not yet agreed on how best to go about the controversies surrounding the budget, the House member confirmed that both chambers of the National Assembly will meet within the coming week. He added that “however, we need to reach a consensus with the Senate and harmonise our position. The joint team will then meet with the President and we hope that after the meeting, the budget will be signed”. Meanwhile, the House wants the rule of law to take its cause in the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki. “On the trial of Senate President, we believe in the rule of law and every Nigerian remains innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

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