President Muhammadu Buhari has said he recalled the 2016 Budget to ensure there were no errors in the nation’s second most important document. The President further said that there are no changes in the draft bill and figures contained in the budget proposal he presented before a joint session of the National Assembly on December 22 2015.
It will be recalled that controversy had broken out last Tuesday on the budget following revelation by the Senate that copies of the estimates were missing which deepened on Thursday when Senate President Bukola Saraki said that based on the findings of a committee of the Senate, there were two versions of the budget as presented by Buhari in circulation. But the House of Representatives on Wednesday refuted the claims on the missing budget as it displayed copies of the bill during plenary.
However, in a letter addressed to both Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, dated January 15, 2016, Buhari said he had indicated during his budget presentation that details of the appropriation bill would be checked “to ensure that there were no errors.”
In the letter, Buhari said: “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 had 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,”
Buhari said in the letter, expected to be read at both chambers during plenary today. Meanwhile, Senate Leader Ali Ndume said the integrity check conducted on the first budget submitted made it necessary for minor adjustment. Addressing Senate journalists yesterday, Ndume said:
“It was the integrity check that made the changes necessary on quantity and not on the total budget sum. “If not for the mixed up, we would have gone to the next stage in our Legislative activities on the budget. We are targeting the end of next month to pass the 2016 Appropriations bill.”
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