Saraki Meets With Buhari, Resolves Budget Impasse After 10 Minutes Parley


After being absent from an earlier meeting at the presidential villa, Senate President Bukola Saraki attended a late evening parley with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday to resolve the budget impasse.

At the end of the meeting, it was announced that “all grey areas” had been resolved and the budget would be passed “in a matter of days”.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara had earlier on Tuesday met with Buhari, with Saraki absent.

Journalists were not allowed to ask questions after the 30-minute closed-door meeting.

But later in the day, another meeting was convened after which it was announced that “all grey areas” in the 2016 budget had been resolved.

Saraki said: “We just finished a meeting with the president and the vice-president. We came to let them know some of the solutions that we found in moving the budget process forward  and we are happy to say that we have agreed on the way forward.

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“We believe that this process will be completed in matter of days rather than weeks.

“So it is good to Nigerians and all of us, we have found a way forward and in a matter of days, the budget will be ready for the President’s assent.”

He was not specific on the details.

“We have committees that have been set up on our side and also on the executive side,” he said.

“We will engage over the next few days to just tidy up a few loose ends and here and there and the outcome will be satisfactory to everybody.”

On the day of the week the budget would be signed, he said: “You heard what I have said. I said it is a matter of days and not weeks. So, you can start counting the days which means that between now and Monday or Tuesday, I’m hopeful that the budget will be signed.”

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Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, also confirmed the resolution of the impasse.

He said: “We have agreed to work together to resolve all issues in the next few days and we have also agreed on the modalities of or doing so.

“It was a very good meeting, very positive and within the next few days all issues will be resolved.

“We are working together, both the executive and the legislature, to sort those things out. Within the next days, all matters will be resolved.”

The meeting, which lasted for 10 minutes, was held inside the the First Lady’s Conference Room.

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It started at about 9.20pm and ended around 9.30pm.

In attendance were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Saraki; Dogara; deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu; deputy speaker, Yusuf Lasun; senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio; and house leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Other leaders of the national assembly were also there.

Abba Kyari, the chief of staff to the president; Udoma; Ita Ewang, senior special assistant on national assembly matters (senate) to the president, and his counterpart in the house of representatives, Samaila Kawu, also attended Tuesday night’s meeting.

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