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Ministers, legislators meet on latest Budget

All is set for President Muhammadu Buhari to signed the 2016 Budget as Ministers and legislators met Tuesday afternoon for a review of the fresh copy of the budget made available to the President by the National Assembly. There were reports that President Buhari had received the latest edition of the Budget on Monday after which Ministers were called in to scrutinise the content and certify it acceptable.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a public function in Abuja Monday hinted of the preparedness by President Buhari to sign the budget before the end of this week. A meeting between the Ministers and legislators, Daily Times learnt, took place late Tuesday afternoon at the Presidential villa for the purpose of ironing out grey area in the fresh budget document so submitted.

The 2016 Budget had generated heated controversy since President Buhari presented it last year December as allegations were leveled that some officials of government in different ministries padded the budget with self-serving figures. Members of the Appropriation Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives too were accused of padding the budget, a development which made President Buhari to refrain from granting it assent. President Buhari’s Special Assistant to the Senate, Senator Ita Enang in a chat with correspondents affirmed that the Presidency had received a copy of the reviewed budget from the National Assembly. He also hinted that at the moment, some members of the executive and legislators were meeting to agree on areas, which had hitherto, generated controversy and tension between the executive and the legislature.

He said, “We (executive) have received a copy for preview. We are meeting with them in the afternoon, because it was to be consensual working. Ministers will look at what they have done so that it will be agreed fully that this is what will be presented” He alluded to the earlier assurances given by the Vice President on signing of the budget this week by President Buhari, stating that he was optimistic that the President would keep the assurance alive. He however declined to make comments on the areas in the budget that the legislators altered to please the President.

He said, “I’m not going to speak on what they changed. My job is to bring them (Executive and Legislature) together. My job does not entail knowing what is the content or no content” He said the controversial portions in the Budget were being eliminated “one by one”, adding, “Nigerians will be happy when the budget is passed. The controversial areas are being eliminated and reduced. It will be a budget for Nigeria made by Nigerians. “We want to make sure that things are done properly so as to keep each other’s powers intact. “The Executive has its powers, very enormous. The small powers of the Legislature are preserved. So in matters like these, it is the Legislature that is the Oga. So, we the Executive have to respond. We are the ones begging them to pass budget.”

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