After all the controversies that has accompanied the 2016 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the draft of budget proposal which is currently before the National Assembly be put on the website of the budget office so that Nigerians can read and make appropriate input as the government will welcome well-meaning criticism of government’s policies, its budget and expenditure.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu stated this in a statement issued yesterday. Mr. Shehu gave this in reaction to a newspaper report with the headline, ‘2016 Budget: Buhari to spend more on State House Clinic than on all federal govt-owned teaching hospitals’, saying that the directive to post the 2016 budget be posted online is the only way that the change promised Nigerians would be meaningful.
He dismissed the claim that that the presidency was misleading the public on any aspect of the budget, stating that the Budget Office supplied a summary of the allocations to the various sectors under the Ministry of Health, which showed clearly that the published story was inaccurate.
“We believe that the process of ‘change’ will be affected by, and stands to gain form these debates especially where there is good faith on all sides.
“Government has no reason whatsoever to mislead the citizens on the budget and on all other matters for whatever reason The budget office has affirmed that in terms of both capital and recurrent allocations, the draft budget has put far more money in the 17 teaching hospitals than it did in the state house clinic.
“Having said this, we are not by any stretch of imagination suggesting that the draft budget is beyond comments or reproach. Nor do we wish to dwell on this simply to make a point. To do that will drive away good citizens from pointing out needed corrections and, ultimately defeating the change mantra of the administration.
”As the draft goes through the approval process, this and many other aspects will continue to generate interest, criticism, commendation and sometimes condemnation in discussions in the parliament, the media and the court of public opinion.
“We believe that the process of “change” will be affected by, and stands to gain from these debates especially where there is good faith on all sides,” he said.