The two chambers of the Nigerian bi-cameral legislature, the Senate and the House of Representatives, have on Tuesday, February 9, declared that the 2016 budget was full of errors, adding that the document could no longer be passed on February 25 as earlier promised.
This new development was made known at a joint press conference chaired by Sen. Danjuma Goje, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation and Abdulmumin Jibrin, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation in Abuja.
They argued that the 2016 budget contained so many discrepancies in figures as the initial date for passage was shelved indefinitely.
Senator Goje noted that the Presidency had also admitted that there were errors in the budget, explaining that it would be inappropriate to give a new date now due to the errors that they would have to work on.
He said: “We are here in connection with the ongoing processing of the 2016 Budget because these two committees are the ones saddled with the production of the final copies of the budget that would be passed by the National Assembly for onward submission to Mr President for his assent and subsequent implementation.
“We want to remove all ambiguities, we want to remove all paddings. We want to produce a budget that is in line with the constitutional provision. During the budget defence, a lot of issues based on the padding of the budget, arising from over-bloated overheads and in some instances cases of over-bloated personnel cost.
“But generally, there has been a lot of issues. The appropriation committee would look at these issues after the whole budget defence and do a very thorough work aimed at doing a proper clean-up of the budget.
“So in summary, the time-table for passage of the budget is no longer realistic because as appropriation committees of both chambers of the National Assembly, we need additional time to do a thorough job for the 2016 budget.”
Similarly, the House Chairman on Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin, agreed that the two committees would have to do a proper clean up of the budget.
He said: “So we can pass a budget that is implementable and also acceptable to Nigerians. It is no longer realistic because we need sufficient time to pass a comprehensive budget.
“The President is an individual, the budget runs in thousands of pages, the President will not be able to go through it page by page.”