Nigeria: National Assembly Downplays Buhari's 2018 Budget Concerns

President Muhammadu Buhari.

Abuja — The National Assembly on Wednesday shrugged off concerns raised by President Mohammadu Buhari over the 2018 budget as passed by the lawmakers.

Speaking with State House correspondents moments after President Buhari signed the fiscal document seven months after, the Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Bala Ibn Na'Allah noted that passing the budget way it was sent to the National Assembly would have pitched constituents against their elected legislators.

"No, we are not worried. The job of parliamentarians is a very difficult one. The way the budget came, if we had allowed it to go that way, we would have been in trouble with those who elected us.

"You have to balance between the six geo political zones. It is the balancing efforts by the National Assembly that led to those observations and happily enough, he himself has said he is coming with a supplementary budget which will be dealt with as quickly as possible, I assure you about that one."

Na'Allah who represented the President of the Senate blamed the delay in passing the 2018 budget on ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) who he said, were not forthcoming with their presentations to the National Assembly.

"About the issue of delay, the president is right, but at the same time, if you remember, you were here, the president had to order some MDAs to appear before the Assembly for the purpose of defending their budgets.

"It's a very delicate issue if somebody said he wants N500 million for the maintenance of bridges nationwide, then you expect the National Assembly to say Okay that budget is approved because it came from the executive, then we have not done our work.

"We will be interested in knowing which of the roads you are going to maintain so that again, we don't give another allocation in the next budget.

Those observations are correct but in the budgeting process those things are normal.

Also fielding questions from the newsmen, Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado Doguwa noted that President Buhari's observations which he said were critical to the implementation of the budget.

"I think some of these major concerns Mr President has raised are very critical and I am afraid if I should be in a position to respond on behalf of the House. But for me as an individual and a member of the House of Representatives, I want to belief that the president is at liberty to raise some of these observations.

"But the most important thing you have to know is that the budget has been signed and is now a law of the federation and we expect the executive to now implement the law to the latter."

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