APC Says Ministerial Nominees, Who Had Been Indicted, Will Not Get Protection From President Muhammadu Buhari Who Plans To Send A Supplementary Budget To The National Assembly For Approval
There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari will soon send a supplementary budget to the National Assembly, for consideration and approvals, to enable government to operate its programmes till year end when the 2016 budget is expected to reach the lawmakers.
This was disclosed by Deputy National Chairman (North) of APC, Senator Lawan Shuaibu, at an interaction with journalists in Abuja weekend.
He said the supplementary budget became necessary to enable President Buhari to begin to address his promises to Nigerians.
“I understand that a supplementary budget may be sent to the National Assembly for considerations in order to enable government to perform its functions till the end of the year when next year’s budget will be presented. This is all geared towards ensuring that government takes off in earnest”, he said.
Buhari, who became President in May 2015, inherited a 2015 budget of N4.493trillion tagged ‘transition budget’. The budget was pegged on oil benchmark of $65 per barrel with oil production put at 2.2782 million barrels per day and a GDP growth rate of 5.5 percent and exchange rate of N165 to the US Dollar.
The 2015 budget also envisaged a non-oil revenue (including non- Federation account) of N1,684.63 billion with fiscal deficit of N755 billion (or 0.79 percent of GDP); and domestic borrowing of N570 billion down.
However, Shuaibu also said President Buhari will not intervene in the corruption probe against any member of the party, including his ministerial nominees, no matter their status.
He said if the corruption probe leads to prosecution of any of the ministerial nominee, the President would allow the law takes its course.
“You see the president has said several times that he believes in the rule of law; that he respects the rule of the law. Anything that is not in line with the constitution and the extant laws of this country, he would not go for it even when it comes to the issue of the choice of people who will serve as ministers in his administration. ”
I believe that until one convicted in the law court, we will be chasing shadows on the basis of suspicions and assumptions.
“If he decides to interpret the laws in the case of people facing investigation, I think he is quite free to go ahead with it.
“I think, quite frankly that he is not going to stop any investigations against any member of his cabinet. But should that investigation lead to conviction in courts, I assure you even before President Buhari ask them to resign, such a person would have brought a letter of resignation. The president cannot intervene, and I assure you, in a matter before the court on behalf anybody including his own child”, he said.
On the allegation that the current anti corruption crusade is biased, Sen. Shaibu said, “what do you expect the president to do? President Buhari has made it clear, even during his recent interview in New York, he said he would not be interfering with judicial process or procedures and he will wait to see when a court makes a decision on anyone. That is now when he will respect the decision of the court.
“When you talk about people who have contributed to his emergence as president; I do not expect anyone that contributed to the emergence of President Buhari, to have done so because they wanted cover from corruption prosecution. If anybody thinks that way, I would to say that President Buhari is not thinking that way”, Shuaibu added.
On the expectations from the APC administration as the ministers prepare to be appointed to offices, Shuaibu said: “as soon as the ministers are sworn-in, the business of governance will fully commence and actual implementation of the programmes of government will start off.
He added that “it is not going to be business as usual. We promised Nigerians change and I can assure you that the party will bring about that change in every aspect that we promised Nigeria, security, economy, agriculture, power supply and unemployment.
“It is left for the president to guide the ministers on how he wants them to help him run the business of governance, particularly where people are expecting service delivery”.
– Dyepkazah Shibayan, Abuja