Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Buhari: How NASS committees padded my budget


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President Buhari signing 2016 Appropriation Bill last week

President Buhari has explained why he refused to sign the 2016 Appropriation Bill into law immediately after passage by the National Assembly.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with his Personal Assistant on Broadcast Media, Mallam Shaaban Sharada, in his hometown Daura, Katsina State, President Buhari said the Senate and House committees removed some of his projects and replaced them with their own.

He however said he would do his best to implement the 2016 budget, assuring that he would turn around the fortunes of the country through effective utilisation of available resources.

“We will do our best to fix the country. When the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, asked me to sign the budget weeks ago and there were issues, I told him I won’t. But when he insisted, I told him if I assented to it and anything happened, he would be held responsible. He accepted and left.

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“But when he had a second thought, he ran back to me and agreed with me that we shouldn’t sign it. It was at that point I heard of padding. The committees of the National Assembly removed our projects and replaced it with theirs.

“That’s was why we had three weeks to look at it. When he returned to me again, Udoma told me that most of the projects they (National Assembly) included had been removed but that we can go with the remaining ones since I must approve money before funds would be released for the execution of projects, “ he said.

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President Buhari while reiterating the commitment of his administration to improve power supply in the country,  said he would look into the investment in the sector by previous administrations.

“It is a must for us to look into the investment in the power sector because nothing will work without adequate power supply in the country.

“The problem of the power sector is like that of the petroleum industry.  We will look at how they spent the money because there is no power and nothing to show for the $16b investment by the previous administration,” he said.

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On recovery of stolen funds, he said all the stolen funds would be recovered and the perpetrators would not be spared.

He also said adequate attention would be given to the agricultural sector in a renewed effort to diversify the country’s economy.

“We will work hard to restore the glory of the agricultural sector to ensure food security in the country,” he said.

On the activities of the Niger Delta militants, he said they would be dealt with at the appropriate time. Quoting a slogan familiar with former Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon after the civil war, Buhari said, “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be won.”

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