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Government & Politics

President Buhari To Present 2017 Budget By Next Week – Senator Akpabio

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A report by Thisday indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari will likely present the 2017 budget on Thursday, December 1 before a joint session of the National Assembly. All things being equal, President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2017 budget next week. The proposed date is on Thursday, December 1. This disclosure was made by the Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

President Buhari to pass 2017 budget next week This disclosure was made by the Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, at the conclusion of the debate on 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) yesterday, November 23. Akpabio made the statement while reacting to criticisms by senators that the document should be returned back to the executive. The immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom state said doing so would be counter productive in view of the planned presentation of 2017 budget on Thursday, December 1.

Akpabio urged his colleagues to rather send the document to relevant committees with its flaws and leave such committees with the task of addressing the flaws. His words: “We can see that we don’t have a perfect document in our hands but of course we are looking at assumptions and assumptions may not necessarily be correct. “I want to suggest that we send it to the committee. Of course, the committee will invite the relevant agencies and ministries of government.

“They will come up with a more realistic MTEF/FSP because I believe also that looking at the date that this was submitted to the Senate – it was submitted to the Senate on the 4th of October – and we are debating it today on the 22nd (of November). So, a lot of indices must have changed. “Yesterday, you (Senate President Bukola Saraki) made reference to the fact that the president may be coming to the chambers to submit and read the 2017 budget on December 1. If that is the case and we send this back now and wait for it to come and debate it, it means that we will not be able to meet that deadline. But if we send it to the committee level, they may come up with something within the next three days that will be more realistic.

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“So, my appeal will be that the committee members should take into cognisance all the submissions and observations made today so that we can come up with a more realistic MTEF and FSP.” The Senate had returned the document to the executive earlier in the month, alleging that it was empty, shallow and asked the government to make the document more valuable. But rather than address the issues raised by the Senate, the presidency ignored the red chamber.

However, the Senate resolved to debate the document in view of perceived indifference of the government towards the return of the document to it in the last two weeks. Meanwhile, a report by the Economic Confi­dential Magazine has detailed how two ministers in President Buhari’s cabinet are at each others neck over the 2016 and 2017 budgets. According to the report, the fierce rivalry between both ministers and their ministries stem from the claims by both parties on who should superintend the budget processes and implementations in the country.


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