The National Assembly has said that the 2016 budget proposal will no longer be passed on February 25 as earlier scheduled due to a lot of discrepancies, errors and ambiguities inherent in the budget.
The lawmakers also revealed that they cannot also guarantee any future date for the passage of the budget, adding that they needed to do a “proper clean up” of the budget.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari presented a N6.08 trillion budget proposal to the National Assembly last December but the budget has since come under fierce criticisms in the past one week as many Nigerians subjected the document to scrutiny.
Speaking to newsmen, the Chairman of the Budget Committee in the Upper House, Danjuma Goje said the house wanted more time to eliminate any uncertainty in the budget.
He said, “We are here in connection with the ongoing processing of the 2016 Budget because these two committees are the ones saddled with the production of the final copies of the budget that would be passed by the National Assembly for onward submission to Mr President for his assent and subsequent implementation.
“We want to remove all ambiguities, we want to remove all paddings. We want to produce a budget that is in line with the constitutional provision.”
Also speaking, chairman of the Budget Committee in the Lower House, Abdulmumin Jibrin, said the house is yet to agree on how much ministries would be allocated.
“The National Assembly sessions have witnessed disagreements between various ministers and top civil servants,” Jibrin said.
“There are a lot of controversies surrounding the budget. We feel that we have to come here, interact with you, make some clarifications so that Nigerians will know the correct situation of things regarding the 2016 Budget.
“We designed a timetable for the consideration and passage of the budget and by that particular timetable that we will pass the budget on February 25, 2016. But as you are all aware, a lot of issues have come up and gladly so even the Executive arm of government has also come out to accept the fact that there has been a lot of errors in the budget.
“Again during the budget defence, a lot of issues based on the padding of the budget arising from over bloated overhead and in some instances cases of over bloated personnel cost. But generally, there has been a lot of issues.
“The appropriation committee would look at these issues after the whole budget defence to do a very thorough work aimed at doing a proper clean-up of the budget.
“So, in summary, the timetable for the passage of the budget is no longer realistic because the appropriation committees of both chambers of the National Assembly, we need additional time to be able to do a thorough job for the 2016 Budget,” he said.