2019 Budget: Stop playing politics with the annual fiscal document – Senate replies Presidency

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The Senate on Sunday, in a statement, told the presidency to stop blaming the National Assembly for the delay in the passage of the nation’s annual budget.

It also asked the executive arm of government to stop playing politics with the annual fiscal document.

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujinmi, noted that playing politics with sensitive issues like the budgeting process, could be counterproductive.

He equally faulted a recent statement attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari, blaming the National Assembly for the delay in the passage of the annual Appropriation Act.

The statement read, “The President in June this year expressed surprise during a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly, when he was confronted with the fact that ministers and heads of federal agencies refused to defend their budget proposals before the legislative committees.

“On that occasion, the President stated that the information (from the lawmakers) was contrary to what he was told by his aides before the meeting started.

“He then ordered the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to compel all heads of MDAs to immediately appear before the respective committees so that the budget could be passed.

“It is a well-known fact that some ministers had in the past appeared before the National Assembly committees and denied certain provisions in their respective budgets.

“In one instance, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, denied the provision made for the purchase of computers in his ministry as stated in the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.

“This kind of disconnect between budget proposals and the position of the heads of MDAs made the National Assembly to insist on budget defence by heads of MDAs. This has helped to curb the menace of what is known as budget padding”.

The statement urged the executive arm of government to ensure that the estimates submitted to the legislature are backed by details and documents.


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