President Muhammadu Buhari will next Tuesday formally present the 2016 budget to the National Assembly for subsequent scrutiny and approval. Vanguard gathered that the Senate went into an executive session, yesterday, to give President Buhari a soft landing to enable him present the budget to the Senators. The closed door session became imperative because the Senators were to go on vacation tomorrow and they had to come to a compromise to allow the President present the budget next week Tuesday.

 

A source told Vanguard that Senate President Bukola Saraki had to plead with other Senators to allow President Buhari to appear on Tuesday. Some Senators were said to have argued that the President should come on Friday, but the Senior Special Assistant, National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang,  pleaded with the principal officers before the meeting that Friday was not feasible for the President to appear and present the budget.

 

According to the source, soon after the presentation of the 2016 Budget, the Senators will go on vacation for the Christmas and New Year holidays to return next year to consider the budget. The source said: “We will not go on vacation on Thursday because President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded that he will present the 2016 Budget to the National Assembly next Tuesday and we have agreed and after receiving the budget, we will proceed for the holiday.”

 

The Federal Government had last week proposed a national budget of N6 trillion for 2016 fiscal year, allocating 30 percent of the budget to the capital expenditure. Addressing journalists last week, Minister of National Planning and Budget, Udoma Udo Udoma,  stated that in view of the current economic realities, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, predicated the budget on $38 of barrel of crude oil as benchmark for the MTEF.

 

Preparatory to the presentation of the budget, President Buhari had forwarded the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP  to the National Assembly where he plans to scrap kerosene subsidy. The document indicated that the present federal administration is to borrow N1.835.88 trillion to fund the 2016 budget which stands at N6.04 trillion just as it disclosed that so far, a total sum of N350.33 billion has been recovered from misappropriated funds.

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