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Senate Leader Says 2016 Budget was Prepared in Hurry
The Nigerian Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, on Monday said the 2016 budget currently before the National Assembly was prepared in a hurry.
Ndume spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He assured Nigerians that any discrepancies detected would be corrected.
He said, “We are working on the budget daily. We are working on it collectively for the first time. The Executive and the Legislature are looking at the budget collectively.
“This is the first time we will be doing it this way. The matter is not about a date, if we can finish it today, we will hand it over for signature tomorrow.
“In those days, we just pass budgets that are normally not implemented. This is the first time we are doing a budget that the President is looking forward to implement.
“This budget was done in a rush and you know there are some issues that are cropping up.
“It is no longer going to be business as usual. So those unusual things, if detected, we will work on them. It is not as if we are holding on to the budget. We are working collectively.”
Ndume said there was nothing unusual in his visits to the Villa particularly because of his position in the Senate.
He said, “I hope you people know that I am the Senate Leader and this is APC government. So if the Senate Leader comes to see the Vice President or the President in the Villa, is it supposed to be a surprise?
“I guess it is because most often, I come in the night but this time, I came in the afternoon and it became very strange.
“There are issues that are really on ground. One is the budget. We also have two bills before the Senate that we need to start working on when we resume on Tuesday. The Money Laundering Bill and the Criminal Information Sharing Bill
“There are issues other than those ones that are really on ground. This is how we are supposed to be doing it earlier. That is, coming into the Villa to consult and guide the proceedings in the Senate appropriately.
“Other than that, I don’t want you to see it as an unusual visit. I will be doing this often because this is how it is supposed to be.
“Again, I normally consult with the President on a personal basis long before he became the President, so it is not unusual.”
When he was asked to respond to reports that he was mediating on behalf of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, he said the question should be directed to Saraki.
“I am not the Senate President. The question should be directed to the Senate President.
“You are asking me what I do not know. I consult and if I have to mediate on anything, there should be a problem. I do not know of any problem,” he said.