The Presidency has said President Muhammadu Buhari will consult with Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, and Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the implementation of the 2019 budget.
Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), disclosed this in an interview.
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President Buhari had expressed reservation about the N8.92 trillion budget amount while signing the 2019 Appropriation Bill into law on May 27.
The President complained that the budget has a funding gap of N102.83 billion as a result of its increment by the National Assembly, noting that it may not be implementable.
It was learnt that the presidency might propose two options to the federal lawmakers.
One of the options contemplated is for the President to forward a supplementary appropriation bill to the National Assembly to return the cuts Buhari complained about
Also being considered is a request to the ninth National Assembly to drop the additional N90.33bn introduced by the ninth National Assembly.
Although Enang did not confirm any of the proposals, he noted that President Buhari will engage in discussions with Senator Lawan and Gbajabiamila about the budget before communicating to both chambers of parliament.
The presidential aide described the upcoming talks as crucial in order not to create animosity between the executive and legislature.
“The budget has just been signed and you know that the National Assembly too has just been inaugurated. The Senate and the House have yet to form their committees; they only sat for two days. It won’t be fair to say that we will send anything to them on the budget now,” Enang told the Punch.
“The President will have to raise it and discuss it with the leadership first in order to take a decision on the best way to handle the 2019 budget.”
When reminded that the Senate is now ready to receive any executive communication, Enang said: “The Senate President’s announcement that they are ready for communication is what is normally said.
“Now that they are ready for communication, we will have to consult with them before we communicate to them. We will not just communicate. We have to reach an agreement with the leadership before we send a communication.
“We do not want to send the wrong signal to the public that there is dispute between the executive and the legislature.”