Budget: Buhari/NASS On Collision Course

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Lawmakers Move To Veto President, Vows To defend Action

By Chris RICHARDS, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to confront both the Senate and the House of Representatives over the discovery of fresh padding of the 2016 budget by both chambers of the National Assembly to the tune of over N100 Billion, built into the estimates for extra ministerial departments.
Investigations reveal that, the President merely used the issue of missing projects in the revised budget as a ploy, whereas, the real reasons he withheld his assent to the Budget was the discovery that the document was embedded with mind boggling sums, carefully wrapped around projects to be executed by MDAs.
Sources in the Presidency confirmed to nationalTRAIL that, President Buhari was livid with anger during the budget scrutiny during last emergence meeting of the Federal executive Council, and subsequently decided not to give assent to the bill, only to jet out to China on Sunday.
Our correspondent reports that, the National Assembly, under the guise of correcting the mess that was the original budget, built in its interests, under what financial experts call ‘the envelop’, an arrangement where budgets are padded with various sums for repatriation to members after the budget is released.
President Buhari, we gathered received intelligence reports to the effect that there were bobby traps contained in the budget, and signing it could be disastrous, leading to further review of the law by members of the executive council.
During the scrutiny, the council uncovered that most of the MDAs had their estimates jerked up by the National Assembly, in the hope that Chief Executive officers of the various MDAs would later repatriate the excesses through cronies and phony projects.
Apparently angered by the Presidents refusal to sign the budget as appropriated by the assembly, and the subsequent embarrassment which the lawmakers may suffer as a result, some legislators have began moves to veto the President and subsequently evoke relevant sections of the law to compel him to implement the budget as passed by them.
Principal Officers of the National Assembly are said to be mobilising their colleagues for a possible veto of the budget if the President continues to withhold his assent, citing the sufferings of Nigerians are going through as the justification for their action,
A principal officer who does not want his name in print confirmed to us that President Buhari is courting trouble by refusing to assent to the budget, saying the National Assembly will not allow itself to be ridiculed by people around the President who fails to appreciate the complementary roles of the legislature in democratic governance.
The President anticipates the trouble that may follow his refusal to sign the budget, according to one of Buhari’s ministers who also spoke on conditions of anonymity, and has prepared himself to confront the lawmakers with the details of their own padding as discovered in the budget, if they push him too hard.
It could be recalled that the president had refused to sign the document, insisting on seen the details before appending his pen to it, and also said that he would carefully study it MDA by MDA, which was why an emergency meeting of the federal Executive Council was summoned last Friday, after the details of the budget were transmitted to him a day earlier.

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