President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday accused the National Assembly of tampering with the 2018 Budget. The president signed the N9.1 trillion 2018 appropriation bill into law in his office at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
According to Buhari in his speech during the budget signing, “The National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.”
Explaining further via Twitter, Buhari also said that he would be forced to submit a supplementary budget for the consideration of lawmakers.
But reacting to the President's claims, Bala Na’ Allah, the deputy leader of the Senate and the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Doguwa, who represented both the Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, respectively, said the lawmakers had no option than to tinker with the budget estimates.
Speaking to journalists after the budget signing ceremony, Na’ Allah said their job as parliamentarians is a difficult one.
“The way the budget came, if we had allowed it to go that way, we would have been in trouble with those who elected us,” he said.
The senator also said they decided to alter the budget in order “to balance between the six geo political zones” across the country.
On his part, Doguwa said “certainly you wouldn’t expect us to just rubber stamp and just bring it back. We have to do the nitty-gritty of budget consideration.”
He also “we have done what we think is the right thing to do to deliver on the expectations and the mandate bestowed on us by the people of our constituencies.”
The two principal officers gave assurances that they would consider the supplementary budget and pass it faster than the main budget.