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Buhari, NASS leadership strike deal on passage of 2018 Budget

By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – WORRIED over the non passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the leadership of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, striking a deal on how both arms of government will work in synergy to see to the quick and possible passage of the 2018 budget, for the overall interest of the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a handshake with the President of the Senate Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara during the meeting with members of National Assembly Executives at the State House in Abuja.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara met with the President at the Presidential Villa on Thursday night, to among others, deliberate on the thorny aspects of the budget.

Recall that the Budget, which was presented to the National Assembly on November 7, 2017 with the hope that the lawmakers would promptly pass the document and enable a January to December financial calendar, has been been delayed as the N8,6 trillion budget has been stuck in the National Assembly since then, just as the lawmakers have expressed doubts if it would be passed before the end of the first quarter of the year.

On Tuesday, the Senate declared that it was uncertain when the budget would be passed, but members of the National Assembly have expressed doubts about the implementation of their constituency projects.

The percentage of implementation was at a time put at a meagre 11 percent.

It was gathered on Friday that at the meeting between Buhari and the Presiding officers including Saraki and Dogara appeared to have doused the tension.

The source said, “The budget may be passed before the end of March.”

A source at the meeting between President Buhari and the presiding officers said that the meeting was cordial and that the President expressed surprise that many Ministries and Agencies were holding down the budget.

The source said:” President Muhammadu Buhari was actually surprised when told that the problem with the budget is not that with the Assembly, but that some Ministers and agencies have not appeared before NASS to defend their budget.

“Some 70 percent of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) have not submitted their budgets to the National Assembly as we speak.

“The meeting between the President and the National Assembly leaders was not only cordial but it discussed the issue of 2018 budget extensively.

“The President actually apologised to the National Assembly on hearing the true situation of things and he immediately directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to write all ministers and MDAs who are expected to sort out the budget issue within a week.

“We believe that once that is done, the coast will be clear for budget passage.”


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