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Succour may come the way of Nigerians and businesses soon as the National Assembly formally transmitted the amended 2016 Appropriations Bill to the presidency for assent.
Yussuff Lasun, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, on Thursday handed over the 2,232-page budget to Ita Enang and Suleiman Kawu, Special Advisers to the President on National Assembly Matters, at the National Assembly complex for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The presentation of the budget which was done behind closed doors, was also witnessed by Bimbo Daramola, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker; Ibrahim Babangida, Chairman, House Committee on Finance; and Abdulmumin Jibrin, Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations.
The deputy speaker, who led the National Assembly delegation on the 15-member committee, slept at about 5a.m. on Thursday, according to one of his aides.
The just concluded amendment of the budget was after several months of buck-passing between President Buhari’s cabinet and members of the National Assembly over allegations and counter-accusations of padding trailing the 2016 Appropriations Bill.
The public presentation of the amended budget, which was initially scheduled for media coverage, was cancelled following criticisms from lawmakers.
The 2016 Appropriations Bill had been returned three times by the presidency, making it the most controversial bill in the history of Nigeria.
The spokesman of House had on Thursday last week assured that various knotty issues on the padding including the excess of N40 billion provided for constituency projects of the principal officers of both Senate and House had been removed in line with presidency’s request.
Jonathan Gaza, deputy chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, contended that there was seamless relationship between the executive and legislature, assuring that the budget would soon be signed into law.
Gaza warned the media to be careful with the choice of words when asked about the whereabouts of the budget, saying: “We have to be quite careful about choice of words. Over time there have been differences and both arms of government have sat down to look at what those issues are.”
He said that what was most important was that to see the economy moving forward, adding that both sides were working hard and the budget before long would be signed into law.