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Presidency Denies Budget Padding Allegations

Posted by Amarachi on Mon 11th Mar, 2024 -

The Presidency denied Ningi’s claims and stated that Tinubu had initially presented a N27.5tn budget to the National Assembly on November 29, 2023.

Bayo Onanuga

Bayo Onanuga

The Tinubu-led Presidency has dismissed reports of padding the 2024 budget by an additional N3tn while describing the allegations as 'wild'.

Senator Abdul Ningi of Bauchi Central (PDP) had alleged that the executive is implementing a budget that is different from the one approved on January 1, 2024.

Ningi had claimed that the Federal Government was executing a budget significantly higher than what was passed by the NASS.

Ningi stated that a N25tn budget was debated and passed, not the N28.7tn that is currently being implemented.

He said: ”Apart from what the National Assembly did on the floor, there was another budget that was done underground which we didn’t know.

“The new things we have discovered in the budget were not known to us. We haven’t seen them in the budget that was debated and considered on the floor of the National Assembly.

“For example, it was said that there was a budget of N28tn but what was passed was N25 trillion. So there is N3tn on top. Where are they, where is it going? So, we need to know this. There are a lot of things."

The lawmaker also revealed plans to meet President Bola Tinubu later this week saying, “We are coming up with a report and we will show the president himself and ask him if he is aware or not.”

However, in a statement signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the Presidency denied Ningi’s claims and stated that Tinubu had initially presented a N27.5tn budget to the National Assembly on November 29, 2023. It said this budget included N9.92tn for recurrent expenditure, N8.25tn for debt service, and N8.7tn for capital expenditure.

The presidency said: “Contrary to the strange view expressed by Senator Ningi, there was no way the Senate could have debated and passed a N25tn budget that was not presented to the National Assembly.

“We don’t expect a ranking Senator not to pay due attention to details before making wild claims.

“It is also important to let Nigerians know that the budget that President Tinubu signed into law on January 1, 2024, as passed by the National Assembly was N28.7tn.”

Onanuga explained that the National Assembly only exercised its appropriation powers, and increased the executive’s proposed budget by N1.2tn to N28.7tn, which President Tinubu subsequently signed into law on New Year’s Day.

He said: “We want to state categorically that the only 2024 budget that is being implemented is the N28.7tn budget passed by the National Assembly and signed by the President.

"Included in the budget are statutory transfers to the Judiciary, National Assembly, Tetfund and others. He did not present a budget of N25tn.”

Addressing Senator Ningi’s assertion that the 2024 budget was anti-North, the Presidency said, “On the uncharitable claim that the 2024 budget was anti-North, we found such position as canvassed by Senator Ningi as too far-fetched and unbecoming of a leader of his status."

The Senate said it would meet over the matter on Tuesday, March 12, using its internal mechanisms and control process.

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