Sen. Abdulahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West) says the presentation of the 2016 Budget to the joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday as proposed is not late. Adamu made the observation in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Monday. He said that the date of presentation would still be within the time allowed by the constitution.
Adamu was reacting to media reports that the budget and indeed the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) upon which the budget would be predicated was late. The Senator said that President constitutionally had until Dec. 31 to present the budget to the National Assembly. “In terms of the budget calendar, one may be right in saying that the presentation at this time of the year is late.
“But it is not late because most of the time, budgets are presented between the months of November and December and the constitutional provisions are very clear. “Section 80(1) stipulated that Mr President is at liberty to present his budget proposal to National Assembly and the latest date allowed him is Dec. 31 of the preceding financial year.
“So the executive is still within the time frame provided by the constitution,” he said. Adamu cautioned Nigerians not to be quick in passing judgement, but should consider all issues. He explained that the perceived delay was due to some factors beyond the control of the President.
The Senator said that he partly blamed the last administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not having a comprehensive handover note ready for the incoming administration. “The out gone government, for reasons best known to the operators then, did not prepare the handover notes and did not give the necessary information needed for transition.
“When you do not have a well articulated hand over note to give you the status of the government that is going out, it is difficult for the new government to plan. “There is also the issue of the dwindling fortunes of the economy; it is all about what we are expecting and what we are going to do with the money that we are expecting.
“Somehow, the projection for revenue accruable to government has been very unstable to say the least. “The price of oil, which is the main stay of the economy, has dipped to the lowest in the last 15 to 20 years; it will not be easy to make a projection and still budget.
“Subsequent upon this, it wasn’t easy for the incoming administration to say this is the draft budget for the National Assembly to work on,” he said. The Senator commended the current administration for wanting to propose a budget of over N6 trillion with emphasis on capital projects in spite of the economic situation.
He declined comments on the possible sources of funding the budget, stressing that President Buhari, being a man of integrity, would harness all accruable revenue to fund the budget. “I do not want to preempt the government on how to source the budget, but am sure that he will do it.
“So, the budget is coming within the constitutionally admissible time and I can see clearly that the President is going to make Nigerians proud in spite of the low revenue. “The President is going to come up with a budget that emphasises capital projects, not just recurrent; it is a very positive innovation in our budgeting exercises,” he said. Adamu said that the time for the diversification of the economy was now as the demand and price for oil had gone very low.