Buhari must sign 2016 Budget as passed by National Assembly - Senate

The Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to endorse the 2016 Appropriation Bill as passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly, instead of engaging in an avoidable bickering with the legislature.

The upper chamber, which resumed from the Easter recess on Tuesday, went into a closed-door session which lasted for over an hour, where it resolved to push for
the President's signing of the budget bill.

At exactly 11.30am, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki walked into the chamber where the lawmakers agreed to toe the line of constitutional provisions on the passage of the budget rather than continuing with the faceoff with the Executive arm of government.

Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the closed door session, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Abdullahi Sabi (Niger North), said the upper chamber had resolved not to go back on the passed 2016 Appropriation Bill for any adjustment arising out of the Executive's short sightedness or omission.

He said: "One thing that is obvious is that we have passed the budget.
"Nigerians are asking what next?
"What is important now is for the budget to be signed.

"The Constitution has taken note of this kind of scenario where you may have omissions or shortfalls of allocations.
"Section 81 of the Constitution is very clear on what you need to do, which is to sign the budget and submit a supplementary appropriation."Ě
Sabi said though the contentious Lagos-Calabar rail project was not in the budget, the National Assembly was willing to accept a supplementary appropriation to make budgetary provision for the project.

He said: "That the Lagos-Calabar rail project was not in the budget does not in any way undermine the fact that it is a very important project for this nation to embark on.
"So, the National Assembly, the Senate is open if the executive brings a supplementary appropriation.
"We are ready and willing to consider such but the most important point to note is that we want to remain guided by the provisions of the Constitution.

"We are a democratic institution and whatever we do we remain guided by the grand norm of the country, which is the Constitution.
"I think if we do that, all the raging controversies will be off our back and we can all concentrate and put our energies to begin the process of implementing the 2016 budget."Ě

Sabi assured Nigerians that the Assembly was committed to doing its work diligently while listening to their yearnings.

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