Buhari refuses to sign 2016 budget, returns document to National Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari presenting the 2016 appropriation bill to the National Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned the controversy-ridden 2016 budget to the National Assembly, pointing out areas of concern in the document and demanding adjustment.

The spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Abdurazaq Namdas, (APC-Adamawa State) confirmed this to journalists on Thursday.

“I can confirm to you that we are in possession of the letter from the president identifying grey areas,” Mr. Namdas said.

He said the leadership of the House and that of the Senate as well as their respective relevant committees would meet on the development.

He, however, refused to mention the “grey areas” saying they would be made known to Nigerians in “due course”.

The National Assembly passed the budget on March 23 and later transmitted it to Mr. Buhari for assent.

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Apparently with the omission of certain projects and addition of others not proposed by the Executive, Mr. Buhari has since withheld his assent.

One of such projects is the Lagos-Calabar rail project counted as a critical infrastrucural focus of the administration.

It was not captured in the original budget but was brought as a supplementary proposal of the Transport Ministry by its Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, and was approved, Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Gbenga Ashafa, said.

However, the Appropriations Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively chaired by Danjuma Goje and Abdulmumin Jibrin, removed the project from the final draft, saying Mr. Amaechi lacked the powers to make budgetary proposal.

Last week, while the Senate said Mr. Buhari should sign the budget and, later, send a supplementary proposal to capture the Lagos-Calabar rail project, the House said it had resolved to receive the budget to capture the project before assent.

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