There were indications on Thursday that President Muhammadu Buhari would not immediately proceed to sign the corrected version of the 2016 Budget, transmitted to him by the National Assembly, as being expected in some quarters.
Ministers, who raised concerns on the earlier version received by the President, would study the new document again, it was learnt.
A decision on whether the President should sign the document or not will be based on the advice of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo-Udoma.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed this to The PUNCH on Thursday.
Shehu was responding to a question on when exactly the President would sign the budget.
He stated, “The question now is that have those concerns been corrected 100 per cent?
“We should not mix things up. The process is that ministers, who raised the initial concerns, should study the new document and ascertain that the concerns have been addressed 100 per cent.
“It is based on their findings that the Minister of Budget and National Planning will advise the President. The decision on whether the President should sign or not will be based on the advice of the minister.”
Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone in Abuja, said the President might sign the budget on Friday (today).
Ndume said the document left the National Assembly earlier on Thursday.
He said, “We have completed our work on the budget at the National Assembly and it is already with the executive. We hope the President will sign it tomorrow (Friday) so that it would become operational.”
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, confirmed in a telephone interview with The PUNCH in Abuja that the budget had been sent to the President.
When asked if the clean copy of the budget had been transmitted to the President. Enang said, “Yes please.”
In response to another question as to whether the issues contained therein had been resolved, he also answered, “Yes.”
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yussuf Lasun, wanted to address a news conference at the National Assembly on Thursday to announce that his committee had returned the budget to the President but later changed his mind.
“The deputy speaker was advised by a superior opinion to shelve the news briefing since there was no conflict over the fact that the budget had been returned,” a senior legislative official told The PUNCH.
Read more: Punch
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