The president of Nigeria has cleared the air on the controversy generated by the missing budget as he explains why he was forced to make corrections to the budged after the earlier submission.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday gave reasons why he made corrections to the 2016 Budget he had earlier submitted to the joint National Assembly after controversy emerged that the budget had been altered.
Explaining his reasons, the president wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives as read by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara in Abuja.
The letter reads in part: “It will be recalled that on Tuesday, 22 December, 2015, I presented my 2016 budget proposals to the joint sitting of the National Assembly.
“I submitted a draft bill accompanied by a schedule of details.
“At the time of submission, we indicated that because the details had just been produced, we would have to check to ensure that there were no errors in the detailed breakdown contained in the schedule.
“That has since been completed and I understand that the corrections have been submitted.
“The National Assembly would therefore have the details as submitted on the 22nd and a copy containing the corrections submitted last week. It appears that this has led to some confusion.
“In this regard, please find attached the corrected version.
“This is the version the National Assembly should work with as my 2016 budget estimates.
“The draft bill remains the same and there are no changes in any of the figures.”
However, the letter didn’t go down well with some People Democratic Party members. Raising a point of order citing Sections 81 and 84 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), Rep. Leo Ogor (Delta-PDP), the Minority Leader of the House said that the provisions of the law did not give the president powers to amend budget, adding that such powers lie with the legislature. He thus urged the house to discard the letter.
The speaker however cleared the matter as he insisted that the budget was not amended but only corrected. He said that it is only the president that has powers to make corrections to the budget if he observes any error.
That didn’t go down well with PDP lawmakers who shouted a resounding “no, no!”. At the end, the speaker won the day.