Fresh Crisis Breaks Out Over The 2016 Budget - Leystradamus.Com.Ng

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Fresh Crisis Breaks Out Over The 2016 Budget

Why is anyone playing games with the 2016 Budget? If President Muhammadu Buhari's budget as given to the National Assembly have some issues, maybe the budget office didn't do a thorough job, there is no crime in replacing the document with a better version quietly with the leadership of the both chambers. There is no need subjecting this process to unnecessary drama as we are seeing today.

The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, after a two-hour closed-door session with his colleagues, had explained that the upper chamber deliberated extensively on the matter.

Saraki said the committee, in its report, revealed the Senate had in its possession two versions of the 2016 budget proposal.

According to him, the first version is
the hard copy submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari while the second is a different version produced and brought into the Senate by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.

Saraki insisted that Senators had resolved to start consideration of the 2016 Appropriation Bill on Tuesday, January 19, but with only the original document submitted to the National Assembly by Buhari.

Saraki added, “Our findings revealed that Senator Ita Enang, the SSA to the President on NASS Matters, printed copies of the 2016 Appropriation Bill and brought them to the Senate. We have discovered that what he brought was different from the version presented to us by Mr. President.

“We have resolved to consider only the version presented by Mr. President as soon as we receive the soft copies of the original document from the Executive.”

But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, said:
“The report about a missing budget is not true. We don’t have a budget that is missing. The investigation by the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, had been submitted at the executive session. It was a fallout of the collective decision we took at the last executive session.

“Our findings are these: That Mr . President did lay the budget before the joint session of the National Assembly and thereafter, the senate went on recess and upon resumption, copies of the document were produced by Senator Ita Enang, who is the SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and the copies were submitted to the Senate and House of Representatives.

“What we found out is that the document, submitted by Senator Ita Enang, upon our resumption, has some differences and discrepancies with what was originally laid by Mr. President at the joint sitting of the National Assembly.

“However, the Senate in defence of its own integrity and honour, will not work with what has not been laid on the floor of the National Assembly. We are constitutionally mandated and duty bound to consider only that budget that had been so laid by Mr. President.

“The budget submitted by the president is not missing.”

Then a source in Enang’s office said, “Oga is just a sacrificial lamb in this case because he was being unfairly accused of an offence he never committed. These copies were brought to our office and Oga just asked us to start distribution. How will he know the content?"

The question is, why are there two versions? Why not withdraw one officially and indicate the original?

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