The budget went back and forth until last week when the presidency and the legislators set up a joint committee headed by Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun Suleimon to resolve the impasse. Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma represented the presidency on the committee.Sources in the committee said the grey areas had been trashed out.
A member of the committee told Daily Trust last night that the document would be submitted to President Buhari today.“We’ve done our work already. All that we’re now doing is finishing touches in order to ensure that there’s no single mistake in the document to be submitted to the president,” the source said.
The source added that after the submission, it was likely that Buhari would sign the budget immediately.
Both the Senate Leader Ali Ndume and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang confirmed to Daily Trust yesterday that the committee was through with its assignment. Speaking on the assignment, Senator Ndume said: “ We are done with our assignment, we gave ourselves the deadline of last Friday and by then we were through but we are meeting tomorrow(today) to finalise our work on the budget. If we finish, we will submit it to the president immediately for his assent.”
Asked on the grey areas, he said: “I’ll agree we have areas of disagreement and we have looked and ironed out the areas. We have also looked at critical areas. We are working tirelessly in order to get it done.
“We are meeting tomorrow (Today) to reconsider grey areas, if we finish, we will then take it to the president for him to assent it.”
Contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang said the committee members were almost through with their assignment. “They are almost concluding, they are doing a very good work and they dedicated all their time to it. In the next few hours, they will finish. I don’t know the exact time that they will submit their report, all I know is that they have gone very far in their assignment,” he said.
The contentious areas include removal of the Lagos-Calabar rail project from the budget and inclusion of N40bn projects in Ministry of Works, 386 projects in the ministry of Agriculture, among others, by the National Assembly.