PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has refused to sign the 2016 Appropriation Bill into law.
The budget was apparently transmitted to him on Tuesday by the National Assembly, but the president turned down the request to append his signature to the document, because it was found out to be mere highlights rather than the entire document.
Both houses of the National Assembly finally passed the N6.06 trillion budget last week, but it was not clear whether the conference committee of the two chambers of the legislature had harmonised it.
Top Presidency source revealed to State House correspondents on Tuesday that the National Assembly may have not completed work on the budget, but merely playing politics with the document and went further to accuse the lawmakers of sabotage.
“This development confirms speculations that the National Assembly either did not complete work on the budget or is 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, which was gradually suspecting it of sabotage,” the source revealed.
It confirmed that the president had just received the transmission of the Appropriation Bill from the National Assembly and was anxious to sign it into law, “but the National Assembly only sent in the highlights without the details of the budget.”
It said as a result, the president had been handicapped in signing the Bill because he did not know what was contained in the details and what adjustments the National Assembly must have made to the proposal sent to the lawmakers.
According to the source, “although he is anxious to sign the document, so that implementation of the provisions could start immediately and ease the tension in the economy and polity, he is afraid he may later discover, when the details are sent, that what is contained therein is not implementable.”
While the Presidency source expressed the wish that the National Assembly could send in the details speedily so that it could be considered for assent, the source also revealed that ministers were also eager that the budget be signed, so they could start implementing their programmes.
“They (ministers) are unable to push the president to sign what has been transmitted because they also do not know what is contained in the details.
“They 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 2015,” the source said.
The source explained that because of the low provision made last year for capital expenditure, spending 50 per cent of the provision for the first half of the year would make no impact on provision of infrastructure.
Reacting, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Honourable Abdulrazaq Namdas, on Tuesday, disclosed that National Assembly would soon send the details of the 2016 appropriation bill passed by the lawmakers to the Presidency.
The House spokesperson, in a telephone interview with the Nigerian Tribune, affirmed that “it is true that we have not sent the detail (2016 budget). The detail will be sent very soon.”
According to him, “the detail will be sent in tandem with the report of the standing committees.”
He added that “we’ve done our own part very well, by the time we sent the detail, the president will appreciate what we’ve done.”