By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, cried out over the alarm raised by the National Assembly that the 2019 budget contained several discrepancies, which they considered anomalous.
In particular, the Senate questioned the deviations in the figures submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, in respect of the conduct of the 2019 polls, saying those figures did not add up.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Nazif Suleiman, who raised the issue, said the discrepancies were ‘germane’ and could not be ignored by the lawmakers.
However, yesterday, Director General of Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, made it clear that the budget had no errors or discrepancies as claimed by the lawmakers.
Akabueze maintained in a statement, yesterday, that while efforts were made to produce error-free budget consistent with previous years, nobody had brought to its attention any discrepancy in the document submitted to the legislature by the President.
Akabueze pointed out that based on the allegation of discrepancies in the budget, the Budget Office officials met with the House Committee on Appropriation and examined the entire document and came up with the conclusion that nothing was amiss.
Akabueze said: “Our attention has been drawn to an allegation by a member of the House of Representatives during its debate on the 2019 Budget proposal yesterday concerning errors/discrepancies in the budget.
“Based on that allegation, officials of the Budget office of the federation and those from the Secretariat of the House Appropriation Committee met to review the Honourable member’s observations. The outcome is that there are no errors or discrepancies as claimed by the member.
“It is instructive to note that the presentation format of both the Appropriation Bill and the Budget details for 2019 are consistent with prior years.
“Although we are yet to receive any formal communication from the National Assembly on these observations, we have written a letter to the House Appropriation Committee Chairman, and we are issuing this statement based on the wide coverage the alleged discrepancies have received in the media.”
It will be recalled that when the Senate resumed earlier in the week, one of them, had expressed concern over alleged discrepancies in the 2019 elections budget figures presented by President Muhammadu Buhari and chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu.