Buhari Withdrawals 2016 Nigerian Budget Amidst Confusion

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the leadership of the national assembly to recall the year 2016 budget amidst confusion that has trailed the controversial document.

“Mr president has written to the Senate and the House of Representatives to withdraw the 2016 budget to enable him to affect some amendments following the further dwindling price of oil among other areas,” said a presidency source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In the past few days, Nigerians have witnessed a horse-trading of allegations between the executive and the legislative arm of government over the whereabouts of the budget.

Sources in the Senate raised alarmed that the budget was missing but a new twist was added later when Senate President Bukola Saraki revealed that upper chamber had received two versions of the document.

A source at the upper house of parliament, the Senate, said Buhari had written to the National Assembly, which consists of both houses, to request the withdrawal of this year’s budget.

“The Senate received the letter on Saturday but it does not specify what is to be corrected,” said the source, who wished to remain unnamed.

Ita Enang, the president’s senior special assistant on National Assembly matters, on Sunday issued a statement confirming that a message had been sent.

“Mr President has sent a communication to the National Assembly on the 2016 Budget,” said Enang. “The content is as will be read on the floor in plenary.” He added that the reading would take place on Tuesday.

Buhari unveiled the budget for Africa’s biggest economy in December, which included a tripling of capital expenditure, as the continent’s top oil exporter tries to overcome its worst economic crisis in years caused by the fall in crude prices.

The president said spending would be 6.08 trillion naira and the deficit would double to 2.2 trillion naira ($11 billion) under his administration’s plans.

With Brent crude, which gives Nigeria around 95 percent of its foreign earnings, falling to $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years, the naira has dropped to record lows against the dollar on the parallel market amid dwindling FX reserves.

The 2016 budget assumed an oil price of $38 per barrel, whereas lawmakers passed last year’s budget at $53 a barrel.

Buhari’s spokesmen, who have travelled with the president to the United Arab Emirates for the World Future Energy Summit, were unavailable for comment.

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