Budget: Buhari consults Nnamani, Masari

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Budget: Buhari consults Nnamani, Masari

Budget: Buhari consults Nnamani, Masari
April 26
06:05 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday took his consultations on the crisis-ridden Budget 2016 to former National Assembly leaders.

The meeting with former Senate President Ken Nnamani and one-time Speaker of the House of Representatives and Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari at the Presidential Villa was to enable the President decide how to resolve the budget impasse, it was learnt.

President Buhari declined to sign the budget after identifying various insertions by the lawmakers as well as the exclusion of some “legacy” projects, especially the Calabar-Lagos rail project.

But a statement on Sunday by the Chairmen of the Appropriation Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, Senator Danjuma Goje and Alhaji Abdulmumin Jubrin, urged the lawmakers to end the crisis by reflecting the presidential additions this week.

A meeting between the President and the lawmakers is expected to hold this week.

Nnamani, the senate president who killed the third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said what he suggested to President Buhari “stands to reason”. He described it as a good way out of the budget impasse.

He said he believed that what he suggested was being studied.

He said: “ Budget is an area where we practise what we call co-management between the National Assembly and the executive branch of government; both of them co-manage the economy through the budget. It’s a peculiar area; both of them will have to cooperate and collaborate for a proper budget to be passed and once it is passed, it becomes law.

“So, as it stands today, the situation is such that the National Assembly has to do what is called introspection. How did we get to where we are now? The year is running out and we are still talking about 2016 budget; where is the fault from?

“Wherever it is coming from, both the executive and the legislature must find a quick solution to it. It does nobody good to drag it any longer. Remember it is an area of co-management; it is not left to the executive alone, it is not left to the National Assembly alone, there has to be collaboration.

“I think it stands to reason, what I suggested is being studied, I think it is appropriate.”

He denied that he had defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) after resigning from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “I will not join a party in secret. When it is time I am joining any party, I will make it public. Today I am bipartisan,” he said.

Governor Masari said the President was right to have withheld his assent.

“You know I am now an executive and I signed budget for Kastina State and before I did that I made sure I knew what I was signing. So take it as I said.”

On what should be the focus of this administration, he said the way to go is to go back to the basics, which are agriculture and natural resources.

He said: “I said it before and I am saying it again, there was a time Katsina State was entirely dependent on its natural resources. Those resources are still there and I believe that we are sensitising the general public and the world to know that there are lots of opportunities in Katsina and in Kastina, with proper investment, we believe we can make it; we believe we can survive on the natural resources and agriculture and other resources that abound in Nigeria.

“So that is why we have tagged this “Economic and Development Summit” but also we are refocusing to encourage our own local investors, those who have N100,000 to invest can make more money than leaving the money in the bank.

“Essentially, our focus will be on agriculture and agriculture of selected crops and we are focusing on the natural ginger,

“We are focusing on the area of irrigated agriculture in the area of rice, cotton and other crops. We also have gold and diamond in Katsina but what we can lay our hands now is in the area of agriculture.”

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