Indication has emerged that the 2016 Budget presented to the joint session of the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari on December 22, 2015 has been withdrawn.
Sources said the budget was withdrawn by the President to allow for reduction in allocations for some ministries, agencies and parastatals, especially the presidency.
The budget is to be represented ‘codedly’ to the National Assembly by the end of this month.
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One of the sources said there were too many errors in the budget that cannot be overlooked.
“The president did not read the actual budget until criticism started flying left, right and center.
“For instance, budgetary allocation was made for renovation of Vice President Lodge in the Presidency Budget while provision was also made for the renovation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministry’s budgetary allocation,” the source said.
President Buhari had presented a N6.08 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2016. In the budget, capital expenditure takes N1.8 trillion, marking a significant over 300 per cent increment from the 2015 vote of N557 billion.
Since the budget was presented, Nigerians have been criticising some provisions in the budget, especially relating to the presidency.
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On Sunday, in its editorial comment, The Nation newspaper owned by All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu carpeted President Buhari on the budget, saying “some of the extravagances in the presidency’s budget are stunningly indefensible.”
“Curiously enough, President Muhammadu Buhari’s first budget estimates after rising to power on a promise of change have familiar ingredients associated with the old discredited order. Details of the 2016 budget proposal reflect astonishing similarities with the immediate past, prompting questions about the meaning of change.
“To start with, the interest in acquiring a fleet of new high-end luxury cars for the Presidency bespeaks flawed prioritisation. A vote of N3.6b for BMW saloon cars for principal officers is certainly on the high side, considering that the cars are not essential for good governance. Furthermore, the number of the cars is unspecified, leaving room for possible corruption-related manipulation.
“Also, the mention of BMW saloon vehicles and their cost bring to mind the matter of a former Aviation Minister in the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Stella Oduah, who was involved in a questionable procurement of two bullet-proof BMW cars at $800,000 each during her tenure. The Buhari government cannot afford such a stain at this time when it is trying to get the public to appreciate its claim that it met a vastly depleted treasury,” the newspaper editorial comment read in part.
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Stating further, The Nation said; “Equally odd is the N362m allocation for Wildlife Conservation in 2016, in place of the N24. 6m voted for the same category last year, including the purchase of exotic animals. Ironically, the difference in the figures makes Jonathan’s government look saintly, quite apart from the dubious category which this particular allocation is meant to serve.
“What is more, the allocation for acquisition of presidential canteen materials and kitchen equipment increased from N83.1m in 2015 to N89m in 2016. There is also a marginal increase in the N11m voted for supply of foodstuff and catering services in the Vice President’s office in 2015 to N16.6m.
“Other puzzling figures include: general renovation of the Guest House (N387m); complete furnishing of the Guest House (N45m); purchase of computers (N27.5m) and construction and provision of recreational facilities (N764m). It may be asked: What are the recreational facilities missing at the Presidency?”
Also in the budget, N189.1m was proposed to be spend on purchase of tyres in the presidency. In addition, the expenditure on tyres is to cover other brands of vehicles, including Toyota cars, trucks, Land Cruiser and Prado SUVs, Hilux pick-up vans, Peugeot 607 and 406 cars, ambulances and others broadly described as “utility and operational vehicles”.
Other expenditures on the Presidency’s vehicles include N39.8m for the purchase of an unspecified number of 200 amps, 100 amps and 60 amps Mercedes Benz batteries for bulletproof vehicles. Also, N30m is to be expended on the purchase of tool boxes, car jacks, and diagnostic machines for the Presidency’s bulletproof cars. The purchase of C-Caution triangles, fire-extinguishers and cables is to cost N27m.