Following the news reported by Premium Times yesterday, that both hard and soft copies of the 2016 budget documents handed over by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly in December 2015 had gone missing, the Upper Legislative Chamber has come out to dismiss the story as false.
The news made the rounds on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, that the 2016 Budget of Change delivered by the President in a Joint Session of the Upper and Lower Legislative chambers has been stolen and as a result, the Senate could not continue with its plenary session.
The reason for the 30-minute meeting with the President was not disclosed but the National Assembly has assured Nigerians that the news is untrue and that both chambers are making plans to make copies of the Money Bill available to the 109 senators and 360 members of the National Assembly, adding that they are determined to pass the bill as soon as possible.
The Chairman of the Senate committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, had this to say about the speculations:
“There is no such thing; it is laughable for anybody to insinuate that the 2016 budget is missing; it is the figment of the imagination of those carrying such rumor.”
“We, as a Senate, are presently concentrating on making copies of the budget available to every senator. We are getting ready to commence deliberations on the budget and we are enthusiastic and looking forward to a quick passage so that the president would commence implementation in such a way that the electorate would begin to reap the dividends and benefits of democracy. So it is not true that the budget is missing; it is a rumor. We deal with facts here and the fact is that no budget is missing.”
The Lower chamber of the NASS has also denied story of the 2016 budget missing from the National Assembly, saying that the original copy of the Appropriation Bill as presented to NASS was intact and with the management of the Assembly.
Abdulrazak Namdas, speaking on behalf of the Lower House, through his deputy, Jonathan Gaza Gbefwi, told newsmen that the rumor of budget missing was unthinkable.
“The budget is intact and, in fact, they even plan to begin to distribute copies to members tomorrow (today) to begin to analyse; so wherever that (rumor) is coming from, I don’t know. So, it’s all a lie.”