Budget crisis: NASS pitches President Buhari against aides

There are indications that the face-off between the National Assembly and the executive arm of government over the 2018 budget may get worse following Senate’s decision to leave out Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which failed to defend their budgetary allocations.

The Senate said after several invitations to the chief executives of those agencies, it would be left with no other choice than to restrict itself to what the President presented to it last year in respect of the MDAs.

This is coming just as the Federal Ministry of Finance disclosed that contrary to insinuations, the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has fully defended her 2018 budget proposal, including submitting all relevant documents demanded by appropriate committees.

Special Adviser to the Finance Minister on Media, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said that she has fully defended her budget before the two chambers of the National Assembly, stressing, “We are not responsible for the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget.”

But a key member of the Senate appropriation committee hinted that should the National Assembly simply adopts what the president presented to it as the national budget, it would amount to deferring the evil day.

Just last week, the Senate indicted the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, her Transportation counterpart, Chibuike Amaechi, alongside others  for allegedly frustrating early approval of the 2018 budget.

A document released by the Senate in Abuja, listed agencies supervised by the Works, Power and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu, Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu among those frustrating the budget process.

The Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, while giving a deadline of Thursday March 29, 2018 to senate committees to submit their concluded reports on budget Saraki said: “This is to inform chairmen of all committees to, as a matter of urgency, submit reports of their various panels on the 2018 budget to the chairman of the Senate committee on Appropriation.