* NASS Transmits Highlights Without Details*
* FEC Insists Buhari Will Not Sign Bill*
* Presidency Says No Ascent Without Details*
Tony Ailemen, Abuja
As Nigerians anxiously awaits the commencement of the implementation of the 2016 budget, indications emerged yesterday that they may wait longer.
The Union gathered yesterday that Presidency is not happy with what has been described as ” hide and seek game” with the budget even as ministers are said to have prevailed on President Buhari not to ascent to what they said is ” half baked” budget transmitted to him for his ascent.
The Union gathered from the Presidency yesterday that it has received the transmitted copies of the Appropriation Bill (2016 Budget) from the National Assembly.
A source noted that although the Presidency “is very anxious to sign it into law, the source revealed that “the National Assembly only sent in the highlights without the details of the budget”
As result, the President is said to be “handicapped” in signing the Bill because he does not know what is contained in the details and what adjustments the National Assembly must have made to the proposal sent to them.
“Although he is anxious to sign the document so that implementation of the provisions could start immediately and ease the tension in the economy and polity, he is afraid he may later discover, when the details are sent, that what is contained therein is not implementable.”
“He wishes the National Assembly could send in the details speedily so that it could be considered for assent”
The source also noted that ” Ministers are also eager to see that the budget be signed so they could start implementing their programmes, but they are unable to push the President to sign what has been transmitted because they also do not know what is contained in the details”
The Union gathered that the Ministers are insisting on full disclosure of the actual figures and adjustments, if any to the budget before the President’s ascent and commencement of actual implementation.
“They are particularly worried that the year is gradually aging and the provision of the law in respect of spending the previous year’s budget is not helping matters because of the low Capital provision for 2015.”
“Because of the low provision made last year for capital expenditure, spending 50% of that provision for the first half of this year will make no impact on provision of infrastructure”
The Union also gathered that the Budget Office cannot also work on the Budget for implementation because it is the details, and not the highlights, that they convert into implementable templates for the respective MDAs.
This development confirms speculations that the National Assembly either did not complete work on the budget or are playing politics with the documents which affects the life of both the country and its citizens.
The National Assembly may just have passed the bill to pass the buck to the executive and escape the wrath of the public which was gradually suspecting it of sabotage.
A recent survey had shown clearly that Nigerians are getting impatient with the administration that had promised them so much during the 2015 electioneering campaign but which is yet to get its bearing right.
NASS had last Wednesday announced the passage of the 2016 budget, insisting that only the N500 billion Intervention fund was allowed to scale through untouched as other components in the budget were thinker with
The initial budget proposals laid by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Joint session of the National Assembly was N6.077 trillion, but the sum passed was N6.060.
“One of the major component which has been allowed to go is the N500 billion for the poor, the school feeding, conditional transfers for the generality of Nigerians, “He said.
Speaking on the cut from the Initial budget sum to the one passed, Goje said this was done in view to the dwindling prices and economic downturn being faced by the country.
According to him, since 1999 the was the first time a budget will be reduced from the initial figures presented by the Executive.