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Budget Impasse: NASS Leaders Reach Truce With Buhari On Way Forward

By Ganiyu Nasirudeen

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – At last, leaders of the National Assembly (NASS) have reached truce with President Muhammadu Buhari on the 2016 budget tussle.

The agreement to resolve the contentious aspects of the Appropriation Bill was reached last night at a meeting held inside the First Lady’s Conference Room, between Mr. President, his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the NASS leaders Tuesday night.

The expansive meeting was attended by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; his Deputy, Ike Ekeweremadu; House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; his Deputy, Yusuf Lasun; Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio; the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma and some President Buhari’s aides.

Adressing journalists after the meeting, the NASS Chairman, Saraki indicated that the legislators came to resolve the grey areas of the budget with President Buhari and provided the way forward.

Saraki who declined to be categorical on the resolutions reached with Mr. President, maintained that the final budget would be done with, as well as assented to by the Nigerian Leader, in a matter of days. He specified that the assented budget would be available by Monday or Tuesday next week.   

It would be recalled Mr. President earlier Tuesday met with some former NASS leaders including the ex-Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Speaker of the House of Representatives and incumbent Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari.

Similarly, Speaker Dogara had an audience with the President on budget crisis before the evening enlarged parley.

After the meeting which held inside the President’s office at the Presidential Villa Abuja, both Nnamani and Masari confirmed to State House correspondents that the meeting majorly focused on the stalemate between the executive and legislature on the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

The former Senate President told journalists that the budget preparation was a special aspect of the governance, thus it required collaboration between the two arms of the government.

Nnamani, a one time Chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was however evasive on the travial of the current Senate President, Bukola Saraki, still, he urged the Federal legislators to begin a self examination.

It would be recalled the House, due to complaint of discrepancy about two weeks ago, advocated that the budget be revisted by NASS.

Similarly, the Chairmen Senate and House Committees on the Appropriation, Danjuma Goje and Abdulmumin Jibrin respectively, have called for another look at the budget bill, leaving only Senate insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari must first assent the version of the Appropriation Bill before him, after which he could send the Supplementary budget on the Lagos-Calabar road among other crucial differences.



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