FOR the third time the 2016 appropriation bill has been returned as President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have picked faults in the re-worked budget and returned it to the National Assembly for further legislative work.
It was reliably gathered that the re-worked budget was sent to the president at about 1: 15am on Tuesday but was returned to the National Assembly at about 12.00 noon Tuesday.
It was also gathered that principal officers and members of the review committee from both legislative chambers met at about 3.20pm till about 5.30pm in the Senate wing to reconsider the observations made by the president on the budget.
Vanguard’s attempts to get some of the principal officers and the review committee members to confirm or deny the budget return story proved abortive as some of them switched off their phones while those whose phones were active ignored calls and refused to respond to SMS.
A source close to the committee confirmed that the budget was actually submitted to the president but he refused to touch it due to some issues he was not comfortable with.
He said “the budget got to the State House at about 1.10am and Mr. President went through it early this morning and still had some issues with some of the figures. I can not tell you exactly what it was but I think the insertions made by the lawmakers were not significantly altered.
“You know the lawmakers had moved some allocations for key projects that are dear to the president to other areas especially to their constituency projects. Of course, they have changed some but I believe Mr. President is not satisfied with the reconciliation they made. I think this is one of the reasons why it was returned”. .
He also disclosed that the president would assent to the budget tomorrow (Wednesday) should the lawmakers make all the corrections and transmit the document to him tonight.
“I can assure you, Mr. President is desirous to sign the budget because he is aware and has acknowledged that Nigerians are going through hardship. He is also concerned so if the budget is cleaned up this night and sent to him, he will sign it as soon as possible. That I know very well”.