Mr Ben Akabueze, Special Adviser on Planning to President Muhammadu Buhari, has been appointed as the new Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation.
Akabueze is to take over from Mr. Tijani Mohammed Abdullahi who would now serve as Special Adviser to the President on Planning. He would also continue to work with the Minister of Budget and National Planning.
A statement by Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity on Thursday, states that both Akabueze and Abdullahi joined the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in February this year.
Their redeployment, the statement added, was “part of an ongoing exercise aimed at further re-positioning the Ministry to effectively deliver on its core mandate.”
There are speculations that the change might not be unconnected with the alleged padding that dogged the 2016 budget proposal.
Buhari had on May signed the 2016 budget, bringing an end to the protracted controversy surrounding the budget.
The 2016 budget estimates suffered several delays after claims and counter claims from both the legislature and the executive, each accusing the other of padding the budget.
The National Assembly in April transmitted details of the budget to the President after it passed the bill on March 23, but the President refused to sign, citing omission of certain critical capital projects, notably the Calabar-Lagos rail line, by the Senate and House Committees on Appropriation, led by Senator Danjuma Goje and Abdulmumin Jibrin respectively. The stand-off forced the National Assembly to withdraw and incorporate the projects.
There were also meetings with the leadership of the National Assembly after which a committee was formed to look at “grey areas” in the budget and harmonize them in time for the President’s assent.