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2018 budget: Senate to make revelations over Buhari’s complaint of alteration

The Nigerian Senate has disclosed that it had delegated its Chairman Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Danjuma Goje to hold a media briefing to clarify concerns raised by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 2018 Budget.

The red chamber of the National Assembly assured that Goje will make revelations about contentious areas.
Chairman, Committee on Media and Publicity, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi, in a statement, confirmed that the Senate was in agreement with the statement issued by the House of Representatives, in response to the issues raised by Buhari on the budget.
He said, “The leadership of both chambers have directed the chairmen of our committees on appropriations to provide item by item, detailed explanations on all points raised by the President for the benefit of members of the public.
“They will therefore address a press conference on Friday, June 22nd, 2018.
“It should however be noted that the action of the National Assembly while working on the budget was informed by the provision of the Constitution on the need for inclusion, balance and the fact that the first responsibility of government is the security and welfare of all citizens,” he said.
President Buhari had in his speech said, “the logic behind the Constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.
“Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.
“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.
“Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.
”Such examples of projects from which cuts were made are as follows: The provisions for some nationally/regionally strategic infrastructure projects such as Counter-part funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project were cut by an aggregate of 11.5 billion Naira.”
“Similarly, provisions for some ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the FCT, Abuja especially major arterial roads and the mass transit rail project, were cut by a total of 7.5 billion Naira.
“The provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was cut by 3.9 billion Naira from 4 billion Naira to 100 million Naira.
“The above will make it impossible for the Federal Government of Nigeria to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on this project.
“The provisions for various Strategic Interventions in the health sector such as the upgrade of some tertiary health institutions, transport and storage of vaccines through the cold chain supply system, provision of anti-retroviral drugs for persons on treatment, establishment of chemotherapy centres and procurement of dialysis consumables were cut by an aggregate amount of 7.45 billion Naira.
“The provision for security infrastructure in the 104 Unity Schools across the country were cut by 3 billion Naira at a time when securing our students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.
“The provision for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme was cut by 8.7 billion Naira.
“At a time when we are working with Labour to address compensation-related issues, a total of 5 billion Naira was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.”