Buhari’s 2016 Budget Is A Sham – Senate

AN alleged discovery of strange projects in the second version of the
budget 2016 document brought by the presidency to the National Assembly
was responsible for its rejection, the Senate declared yesterday.

The
Senate Majority Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, who briefed journalists at
the National Assembly, disclosed that the second budget document failed a
series of integrity tests carried out on it by the Senate.

He
confirmed that the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, would
today unveil the contents of a letter sent to the upper legislative
chamber by President Muhammadu Buhari. But Ndume refused to disclose the
letter’s content.

The Senate last Thursday rejected the replacement of the original version submitted to it by Buhari.

Saraki,
who announced the decision of the Senate to reject the second version
of the budget, had said:

“We have received the report of the Committee
on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on investigations surrounding
2016 Appropriation Bill. Our finding is that the Senior Special
Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) Senator
Ita Enang, printed copies of the 2016 Appropriation Bill and brought to
the Senate.

“We have discovered that what he brought is
different from the version presented by Mr. President. We have resolved
to consider only the version presented by Mr. President as soon as we
receive a soft copy of the original document from the Executive,” he added.

But
providing further details on how the second budget document
contradicted the original one, Ndume said that the few copies of the
budget proposal document earlier submitted to the Senate were thoroughly
compared with the copies that were later brought by the presidency and
it was discovered that there were differences.

He explained that
some projects which were not included in the budget document before were
smuggled in to cater for certain hidden interests.

“What we
tried to do was to make a comparative analysis. The difference is not in
the sub-total or sectorial allocation. The Senate did integrity check
and found out that in some cases a certain amount of money was allocated
to do two
projects and because of integrity check, they found out
that more projects were included in what that amount was voted for
initially.

“But what I can tell you now is that on the budget
that was submitted originally, there were certain integrity checks on it
that made some changes in the quantity of projects but not in the total
amount of money voted.”

He continued: “As at present, there are
two documents and they are before the Senate. We are telling you now
that we are taking the first one; we left the second one because we
think it’s not good for Nigeria.”

Ndume lamented that the crisis
generated by the fake budget issue might delay the Senate’s plan to get
the budget passed before the end of February.

“We were targeting
end of February to round off on the budget if not for this mix up.
However, we are still committed to turning out the budget on time.”

Source: Guardian