President Muhammadu Buhari was yet to receive the corrected version of the 2016 Budget from the National Assembly, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed on Wednesday. She, however, expressed optimism that the document would be transmitted to the President later on Wednesday or Thursday.
The Minister spoke while briefing State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The 2016 budget has remained a subject of widespread controversy following its movement to and fro the National Assembly and the Presidential Villa, on account of alleged discrepancies by the executive arm of government.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had promised Nigerians last weekend that the implementation of the budget would commence this week, but from all indications that promise seems unrealizable. Ahmed was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Bukar-Ibrahim; and the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar. She said the Executive and the Legislature were working hard to resolve the budget impasse, adding that the exercise was at its final stage.
She said: “On the 2016 Budget, I must say that the Executive and Legislature have worked very hard putting things together, reviewing the details of the budget and it is at its final stage. “So may be between today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday), the National Assembly will start the process of transmitting the details to the President.” The Minister also disclosed that the Federal Government planned to execute 34 priority programmes as part of its strategic implementation plan of the 2016 budget. Ahmed said the 34 programmes packaged by the ministry and approved by the Executive Council would help the government to realise the objectives of the 2016 budget.
“We presented 34 priority programmes and projects that need to be realised within 2016. “Each of these has very clear deliverables and target as well as indicators, which will be measured to ensure that the respective ministries and departments deliver on what we intend to implement,” she stated. She said that the ministry would present quarterly reports to the Federal Executive Council on the implementation of the progrogammes. “These 34 strategic programmes are grouped under four major objectives.
“They include policy governance and security, diversification of the economy, creating support for the poor and vulnerable and inflating our economy through investments. “The Ministry of Budget and National Planning has been given the responsibility to track and report on a quarterly basis, to the Federal Executive Council on the performance of these key priority areas,”
Ahmed said. She said that government also planned to refurbish 5,000 primary health care clinics across the country to promote health care delivery system of the country. Ahmed further said that the Council would collaborate with the legislature for re-presentation and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill. Also speaking, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadijat Bukar Abba, highlighted the importance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to Washington DC, where he attended the 4th World Nuclear and Security Summit. She said that Buhari emphasized the need to join hands in fighting terrorism in order to establish a peaceful world.