Respite which most Nigerians are expecting should the 2016 appropriation bill signed by President Muhamadu Buhari amidst the current economic hardship may not be in sight as the peace deal between the National Assembly and Presidency has reportedly collapsed, Punch Newspaper says.
According to our source, it was learnt that as part of the peace moves, the National Assembly had, on Saturday, reached out to the executive and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the document and then send a supplementary budget to the lawmakers.
It was gathered that the President did not accept the suggestion against the backdrop that the distortions in the budget discovered in the document transmitted by the National Assembly were too many.
A minister, who confided in The PUNCH, said both arms of government had been discussing the issue, but the President had been advised by members of his cabinet not to sign the appropriation bill.
“The National Assembly has initiated some peace moves. The lawmakers have suggested that the budget should be signed by the President before he will send a supplementary budget to cover the omissions, but he had turned down the proposal,” a competent source told one of our correspondents on Sunday.
Also, a competent Presidency source told The PUNCH on condition of anonymity on Sunday that with the level of distortions noticed in the document returned to the President, there was no way he could have been advised to append his signature to the budget.
The source stated, “I can confirm to you that the President has been advised not to sign the budget as it is. The initial plan was for him to sign it before going to China and thereafter present a supplementary budget to the National Assembly.
“But as it is, with the level of distortions noticed, the President has been advised not to sign it at all.”
It was gathered that Buhari on Sunday afternoon met behind closed doors with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, in continuation of his consultation on the budget.
The meeting was held inside the President’s official residence in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was held shortly before Buhari left Abuja for China on a one-week official visit.
It was learnt that the meeting was a follow-up to an earlier one held by the President with the leadership of the National Assembly.
Presidential spokesmen, Mr. Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, were not available for comments on Sunday as they were on the President’s entourage to China.