•NASS yet to transmit breakdown
•Post-budget processes being worked on- Enang
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi and Juliana Taiwo, Abuja
The N6.06 trillion 2016 budget passed by the National Assembly on March 23 and transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent is in limbo.
Daily Sun gathered yesterday that only highlights of the budget were passed to the president for assent. Missing from the document forwarded to Buhari are details of allocations to each ministry, departments and agencies (MDAs).
A source in one of the MDAs said “the complete budget was not transmitted to the president. No breakdown was done of the N6.06 trillion.
“We were made to understand that some votes were moved around in the budget before passage. The Presidency needs to know how the monies were moved around and the line items.
“All these are missing. If they are not before the president, how can he sign a document he knows nothing about?”
Another source added that, “the President is anxious to sign the budget but, as we speak, he doesn’t have the details of what was passed.
There’s need to know the adjustments made by the National Assembly in the sectoral allocations; to know how it is different from what was submitted and what was passed.”
A spokesman in one of the ministries, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to do so, said “the president wishes he had the details because right now, Nigerians have heard that the budget has been passed. What they did not know is that the National Assembly did not send the accompanying breakdown.
“Imagine this scenarios: If the president signs what was presented to him and, in the course of implementation, it is discovered that the allocations are different, woulº that not be scandalous?
“The ministers dare also anxious to get to work and are worried about the delay in transmitting the details.
“They are also handicapped. They cannot push the president to sign a document he does not have its details..
“That is a dilemma because they also do not know allocations for their respective ministries.
“We have heard that the National Assembly tampered with the details, so, everything regarding the budget is in limbo right now…”
A Presidency source also told Daily Sun that “ministers are, particularly, worried that the year is gradually aging and the provision of the law, in respect of spending the previous year’s budget, is not helping matters because of the low capital provision for the 2015 fiscal year.
“Because of the low provision made last year, for capital expenditure, spending 50 per cent of that provision for the first half of this year will make no impact on provision of infrastructure.
“The Budget Office cannot also work on the budget for implementation because it is the details, and not highlights, that they convert into implementable templates for the respective MDAs.
“This development confirms speculations that the National Assembly either did not complete work on the budget or are playing politics with the documents, which affects the life of both the country and its citizens.
“The National Assembly may just have passed the bill to pass the buck to the executive and escape the wrath of the public that was gradually suspecting it of sabotage”, the source said.
For the first time in the history of the National Assembly in the Fourth Republic, last Wednesday would be the first time federal lawmakers would pass a reduced budget.
It had always been jacked up from original figures presented by the Presidency.
For the new budget, the total figure is N17 billion less than the N6,077,680,000000 proposed on December 22, 2015 by the president.
A review of the sectoral allocations of the budget passed showed that in terms of capital expenditure, the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing has the highest vote of N422,964,928,495 . It was followed by the Ministry of Transportation, which had a vote of N188,674,679,674. The Ministry of Defence got the third highest vote of N130,864,439,942
The Senate also reduced the recurrent expenditure from N2,648,600,000,000 as proposed by Buhari to N2,646,389,236,196 just as it reduced the capital expenditure vote from N1,845,540,000,000 to N1,587,598,122,031.
The upper legislative chamber, however, retained the figure of N351,370,000,000 proposed by the president for statutory transfer just as it also retained N1,475,320,000,000 for debt service.
In passing the budget, the National Assembly also adopted all the budget assumptions proposed by the president by retaining $38 per barrel as benchmark as well as N197/$1 exchange rate.
When contacted, Buhari’s Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, simply said: “We are aware that the National Assembly passed the budget and the normal processes of post-budget passage are being worked on.”
Last Friday, the president’s Senior Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said his boss would study the budget before appending his signature.