It appears that the crisis trailing the 2016 Budget is yet to be over, as the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, has lambasted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led executive arm of government, saying the presidency cannot throw stones at the National Assembly.
The cause of this new development, it was gathered that Mr. President has refused to assent to the 2016 Budget until it sees the details.
Addressing newsmen yesterday, the Appropriation Committee Chairman insisted that the presidency has no ground whatsoever to throw stones at the National Assembly on the account of the delay in the transmission of budget details.
Hon. Jibrin (APC, Kano) explained that
the National Assembly is doing its best to address the details, adding that it would be ready in the next one to two weeks.
The lawmaker, who said such is a normal scenario everywhere, added “we have passed the budget and at the moment, we are working on the details.”
Asked if the National Assembly is taking responsibility for the delay in the presidential assent following the lack of details, Jibrin said:
“There is nothing that has happened so far that is abnormal and also, just as you have read it on pages of newspapers and of course, I have also read such insinuations, including the ones that we all read today which they alleged that it was an information from a top official of the Presidency.”
He continued: “Let me put it straight and clear that I doubt that if such a statement could come from the presidency, knowing full well the challenges that we went through during the budgeting process.
“We at the National Assembly believe that this is the most difficult budget we have ever dealt with because you all recall that the MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework) came very, very late but we accepted it and we dealt with it. The budget itself came very late we accepted it and dealt with it.
“Even while We were dealing with all such realities, multiple budget details came up and we were able to manage the situation in a very friendly manner with the Executive Arm of Government, of course they took responsibility for that.
“Even while that was going on, during the budget defence by Standing Committees of the House, a lot of members of the Executive Arm of Government came to the National Assembly and disowned the details in their various budget lines.
“When all these things had taken place, we would all agree that it will be very difficult for anybody to sit down and start throwing stones at the National Assembly.”
Jibrin added that both committees have been working day and night, “and we are doing our best. We have been very generous to the Executive as an Arm of Government and we strongly believe that with all these series of challenges in the course of working on the budget, I doubt very much that the Executive Arm of Government or the Presidency, knowing what has transpired in the last few months, will throw stones at the National Assembly.”
He however explained that it is not abnormal for the President not to assent to the budget before seeing the details or after seeing the details.
He said: “We have instances of President Obasanjo signing the budget without the details; we came to Yar’adua who always preferred to see the details. So if President Muhammadu Buhari prefers to see the details before assenting to the Bill, I don’t think we should make a big deal out of it. It’s absolutely normal.”
back to site since as he noted, a lot of money has already been pumped into that project which he described as very strategic to the people of the South East and, indeed, their economies.
Contributing, Chief Henry Ikoh, the Abia State Commissioner for Science, Technology and Industry, posited that the abandonment of the 2nd Niger Bridge project is worrisome to both the people of the South-South and South East geopolitical zones, who are mainly into trade, commerce and industry.
The commissioner, who is also an industrialist of repute, stated that he would not say that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration did not do well in initiating the second Niger Bridge but faulted government for not doing the needed follow up that should have ensured its early completion.
For the Vice Chairman, Ebonyi State Traditional Rulers Council, HRH, Eze Romanus Iyioku, the abandoned 2nd Niger Bridge amounts to insult on the deep feeling of Igbos, should the Federal Government stop work on the Bridge.
He explained that the bridge would not only serve the interest of the South East geopolitical zone, but the economic interests of the Nigerian nation