Hope of an end to the impasse on the 2016 Budget between the National Assembly and the Presidency arose on Thursday with Senate’s disclosure of a correspondence from President Muhammadu Buhari highlighting the grey areas of the document, delaying his assent.
The National Assembly had, after three months of receiving the N6.06 trillion Budget estimates from Buhari, passed it into law on March 23, but is yet to be assented to by the President since then on alleged mutilation by the National Assembly as regards critical projects.
One of the projects is the N60 billion Lagos-Calabar rail line allegedly removed from the budget estimates by the National Assembly and substituted with constituency projects in the North, resulting into weeks of impasse over the budget document.
But the Senate hinted that the impasse would come to an end soon. According to the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, the presidency has forwarded list of the grey areas in the document to the Senate for possible resolution.
“We have seen the President already on the Budget. In fact, meeting the President by the Senate leadership is not a big deal.
“What I know is that areas of concerns on the Budget passed to the Presidency are now with us here. We are talking with the Presidency to resolve all the issues,” he said.
This was even as the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike EKweremadu, announced on the floor of the Senate that the two-hour closed-door session held by them was on possible quick resolution of disagreement between the Senate and the Presidency over the 2016 Budget.
“The Senate, in a closed session, deliberated on issues relating to the 2016 Appropriation Bill and the way forward for the quick resolutions of all the matters related to the early implementation of the Budget in the best interest of our nation,” he said.
– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja