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‘This Is Strange! Tinubu Presented Empty Budget Boxes Without Documents’ – NASS Members Fume

8 months ago
2 mins read

A member of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Galambi has accused President Bola Tinubu of “deceitfully” presenting empty boxes supposedly containing the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.

The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) member representing Gwaram federal constituency of Jigawa State, made the allegation during an interview with BBC Hausa Service on Friday.

He claimed that Tinubu read out his budget speech including proposals for sectors but did not give the lawmakers the documents as was the tradition by past Nigerian Presidents.

Tinubu, on Wednesday, presented his first budget proposal of N27.5 trillion for the 2024 fiscal year to the joint session of the National Assembly co-chaired by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen.

Christened ‘Budget of Renewed Rope’. the proposal was designed to address economic growth, human capital development, poverty reduction and insecurity, according to Tinubu.

As is the tradition, President Tinubu after reading his budget speech, laid two boxes containing the budget documents on the table in front of the presiding officers. The boxes had the colour of the Nigerian national flag of green-white-green.

Galambi soon came out to disclose that the boxes Tinubu ‘bowed’ and kept for the lawmakers were empty.

“The president read out to us his speech on the proposed budget but we’ve not seen the document to work on.

“Of course, he read the estimates for the various sectors. But as it has always been the tradition, a document is always presented (to the lawmakers) but he (Mr Tinubu) didn’t do that,” he said.

When the BBC reporter insisted that the president was seen laying the “document”, Galambi said when the lawmakers checked they couldn’t find anything in the boxes laid before them by the President.

“We’ve checked but there was nothing inside. We checked it. In the history of the National Assembly, this was the first time such a thing happened.

“The constitution has made it clear (that a document must be presented) but this time, it was only a reading on paper. They didn’t provide the document for us to go through and see what is proposed for each sector. Maybe they’ll bring it later,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the Senate, debate on the general principles of the proposals began on Thursday with the lawmakers reportedly not getting the breakdown of the estimates, including allocations to different sectors.

Before the debate commenced, the senators were said to have been handed only copies of the budget speech and the lead debate presented by the Senate Leader, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele.

Reacting to the anomaly, a lawmaker from Kano, Senator Kawu Sumaila urged his colleagues to suspend the consideration of the budget pending when they were provided with the details.

“We are representing interests here. Where are the budget details? We need to have the bill. We don’t have any idea about the sectoral allocations and what our constituents will be getting. It is very strange in the parliament,” he had said but his colleagues continued with the consideration all the same.

Prime Business Africa reports that this is a deviation from previous budget considerations in the National Assembly, where the lawmakers were given the breakdown of the budget estimates to study and convened in plenary at a later date to debate its general principles and other contents of the document.


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