More controversy continues to trail Nigeria’s economy as President Muhammadu Buhari rejects 2016 Budget once again in alleged outraged over the documents transmitted by the National Assembly (NASS) to Presidency for assent. Indications which emerged last night, Sunday April 16, shows that the FG and NASS will contiue to trade tackles as President Buhari was still furious with the high level of distortions inflicted on his estimates by lawmakers.
For that reason, the President is said to be considering measures to deal with those who masterminded the budget infractions, thereby drawing back the hands of his administration.
Competent sources said that the President became more upset as other stunning revelations emerged that the National Assembly virtually re-wrote his budget and transferred cut from national projects to their personal constituency projects, which were neither provided for nor had been taken care of elsewhere. In other words, they expunged other key national infrastructural projects and also drastically reduced the votes earmarked for others.
Among the key projects, which capital provisions in the budget were drastically reduced are the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, which votes the lawmakers reduced by a whopping N24 billion; the Second Niger Bridge, which estimate was slashed by N3.9 billion.
Similarly, the provision for the reconstruction of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states was reduced by N4.3 billion; the votes for the completion of Benin-Shagamu Road was also reduced by N800 million, while the votes for the Itakpe-Warri Signalling Project was cut by N302.9 million.
An APC official who is close to the Presidency explained last night that it would amount to a disservice to Nigerians for Buhari as the leader of the party, who promised change for the people, to sign such a budget into law.
The official maintained that by removing the key infrastructure which the President intended to open up the country and give a new lease of life to Nigerians, the NASS had effectively rendered the budget inoperative and should, therefore, not be signed into law.
Summary of the 2016 Budget Distortions
Lagos-Calabar Rail Removed
Lagos-Ibadan Exp. Rd Reduced by N24bn
Second Niger Bridge Slashed by N3.9 bn
Odukpani-Itu-I/Ekpene Rd Reduced by N4.3bn
Benin-Sagamu Rd Reduced by N800m
Itakpe-Warri Signalling Cut by N302.9m
Calabar-Ikom-Obudu Rail N267m expunged
Kano-Damaturu-Ngala Rail N260m cut