2013 budget: Controversy as Senate, House differ

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By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

Abuja — Plans to roll out a budget of the Federal Government for fiscal 2015 were last night steeped in more controversy, following the emergence of significant differences between the Senate and the House of Representatives on the issue.

While multiple officials in the senate confirmed that all the issues delaying the budget issue had been resolved, the contrary was the situation in the House of Representatives. Senior officials of the House of Representatives were last night ensconced in a meeting over the issue and other issues bothering on the affairs of the House last night.

Members were also getting into combat mood with disclosure that the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, had been mandated to utilize its funds by the board of the commission without the approval of the National Assembly as stipulated in the 2013 budget passed by the legislature.

A ranking member of the senate told Vanguard last night that the issues had been resolved following the intervention of the Presidency working through the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Joy Emodi.

“What I can tell you for now is that all the issues have been resolved and the budget could be signed in a day or two,” the official disclosed, saying authoritative assertions could only be made by the senate leadership.

A member of the senate leadership, speaking in the same vein concurred, saying last night that all the information available to him was that the issues that had prevented the President from giving his assent to the 2013 budget had been resolved.

The principal official, however, claimed ignorance of any subsisting grievance in the House of Representatives.

“I don’t know what problems they still have, I cannot say,” the senate official said.

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