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2016 Budget Saga: Buhari Corrects Discrepancies

impressed with CBN policies

Amid the myriad of claims and counterclaims, speculation and accusations surrounding various persons and offices associated with the supposedly missing 2016 budget presented by the President to the National Assembly on December 22nd 2015 recently, President Muhammadu Buhari today finally waded into the issue by to submitting a letter to the buhari corrects budgetSenate, and informing them of the submission of a corrected version of the budget.

This position was made known by the Senate President, Abubakar Olubukola Saraki, at the plenary session on Tuesday where a letter dated 15th of January from President Buhari to the Senate President was read.

The Letter reads as follows;

2016 BUDGET PROPOSALS

It will be recalled that on Tuesday 22nd 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 continuing 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.

Please accept, Mr Senate President, the assurances of my highest regards.

Yours Sincerely

Muhammadu Buhari

Commenting on President Buhari’s letter and the issue of the ‘missing budget’ after its approval by the Senate, Saraki enjoined his collegues to pay more attention to the contents of the budget because that was what the average Nigerian citizen was more interested in.

It will be recalled that 5 days ago, Saraki had said that there was a discrepancy between the budget presented by President Buhari on December 22nd 2015 and the one in the Senate’s possession that had been made available by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, and that the Senate had only resolved to work with the version that was presented by the President.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the plenary session, Senate spokesman and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi reiterated that there was never a ‘missing budget’ and blamed the media for speculation and consequent escalation of the situation. He also revealed that copies of the corrected budget had been made available to every senator and that the Senate will officially begin its debate on the 2016 appropriation bill on Wednesday.

When asked by a journalist on the major discrepancies between the two available versions of the 2016 budget, Senator Sabi stated that the differences had to do with appropriation details of the budget with regards to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) of the Federal Government and not the financial figure per se, as there was no monetary change in the budget but only an adjustment based on restructured projections from the MDA’s.

Meanwhile, the Senate also received the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele at the plenary session. Mr Emefiele had been summoned by the Senate a week earlier in response to the steepest devaluation of the naira in about 5 decades, with one dollar currently exchanging for well over 300 naira, causing untold hardship to many businessmen in the country.

The Senate received Mr Emefiele in an executive (closed door) session and later revealed in a press statement that the CBN governor ‘presented a detailed, comprehensive and lucid account of the performance of the Nigerian economy in the last one year’ beginning ‘with current global economic conditions which has been characterised by external shocks including the sharp decline in commodity prices, geopolitical tensions along important global trading routes and tightening of Monetary Policy in the United States of America.’

The Senate also noted that the CBN governor gave a thorough analysis of the fiscal crisis and the motive behind many of the CBN’s recent policies that were meant to ‘countervail’ the situation, while also noting that the CBN governor assured the Senate that the crisis was affecting other countries as well and that Nigeria was not doing poorly when measured by many macroeconomic indices. The CBN governor also noted that the policies of Nigeria’s Apex bank were actually geared towards increasing local production, job creation and safeguarding of Nigeria’s future.

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