2016 budget: Buhari’s demands are difficult to meet – Senate

2016 budget: Buhari’s demands are difficult to  meet – Senate
April 25 21:57 2016

By Nura Salami

[S]enate Leader, Alhaji Muhammad Ndume, on Monday shed more light on the raging controversy over the 2016 budget.

The Senate Leader told journalists in Maiduguri, Borno state that even as lawmakers were willing to meet President Buhari’s demands, it is difficult under the law.

He however assured that the impasse would soon
be resolved.

Ndume, who represents Borno South, said the resolution was to allow the country to
move forward.

He said that the National Assembly was not in conflict
with President  Buhari on the budget.

“Nigerians should know that the National Assembly does
not have any conflict with the President on the budget,
but we might have minor disagreement.
“The major challenge that the National Assembly has is
not disagreement with the President.
“The challenge that we have is how to do what the
President is asking us to do within the law,’’ Ndume said.

According to him, disagreement between legislative and
executive arms of government is normal in a democratic
system.
“Disagreement between the legislature and executive is
normal. The executive prepare the budget and present it
to the legislature for processing and the legislature sends
it back for assent after processing.
“Usually, the president takes a look at it and if he is
comfortable with it, he signs and if he not comfortable, he
takes note of the areas and sends it to the legislature for
ratification.
“This is where we are now, but the unfortunate thing is
that because of the change in government, the attitudes
of Nigerians have also changed, which is normal.

“Nigerians are so anxious because Buhari is a new
president they are expecting so much from; they are
expecting to see changes quickly,’’ Ndume said.
The Senate Leader recalled that the National Assembly
had similar disagreement with past presidents Olusegun
Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck
Jonathan on budgets during their tenure.

He said that the leadership of the National Assembly
would hold a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari
this week in Abuja towards ending the impasse.
“The leadership of the National Assembly will sit down
and talk to the president on the issue this week,” Ndume
said.

He said that the meeting was earlier slated for last week
but was shifted due to some unforeseen circumstances.

“We were supposed to have met last week, but we
shifted the meeting to this week due to some factors,’’
Ndume said.

The 2016 Appropriation Bill submitted to the National Assembly in December last year has been dogged  by one controversy or the other, the latest being that President Buhari has withheld his signature from the document passed to him by the National Assembly over certain areas of disagreement between the two arms of government.