N’Assembly slashes own padding of 2016 Budget from N500bn to N75bn

Following the belated agreement by the lawmakers to remove most of the unbudgeted items they introduced into the fiscal document for pecuniary gains, indications that a reworked copy of the 2016 budget will be presented to the President for assent has emerged.
The President and the leadership of the National Assembly had agreed to set up the committees after a brief meeting on Wednesday night last week in Abuja to reconcile the ‘‘grey areas’’ in the N6.06tn budget.As a result of the development, the National Assembly has slashed its own padding of the budget from N500b
to N75b.
Reliable sources close to the NASS said that the lawmakers had realised that it was wrong for them to have usurped the functions of the Executive by introducing items not contemplated by the Presidency into the budget and illegally transferring capital votes to such items.
Investigations indicated that among the grey areas, which would now be deleted from the budget, was the N40bn the lawmakers added to the original vote for zonal intervention projects in the budget.
The President initially proposed N60bn for the projects, but the lawmakers increased it to N100bn.
In addition, “all distortions” to the budget such as the 40 per cent reduction in some sub-heads, and the inclusion of projects “worth billions of naira” by some committee chairmen will be readjusted.
According to a senior legislative aide,
“The committee has been quite busy; the members worked all night Thursday and Friday last week.
“What is happening now is that the members are putting finishing touches to the budget before forwarding a clean copy to Mr. President.
“It will certainly be this week; counting Tuesday, Wednesday, the signed budget should be ready.”