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Budget: Ministers, National Assembly Meet Over Removal Of Road Infrastructure Funds

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By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja

A high powered delegation of the executive arm of government yesterday held closed door meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly over details of the 2017 budget.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the executive arm of government was particularly not happy that some funds earmarked for road infrastructure in the budget submitted to the National Assembly were yanked off by the legislature.

Sources privy to the closed door meeting disclosed that if all issues are resolved, the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo may sign the 2017 budget on Thursday.

“When the Deputy Senate President closed the meeting, he hinted that once all the issues are resolved, the budget will be signed maybe by Thursday,” he stated.

According to the source, the funds were spread across several items in the proposed budget, but the National Assembly removed the items for wants of requisite explanation.

To this end, the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, minister of Labour, Chris Ngige and the minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, as well as the Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze made frantic efforts to explain the executive position on the matter.Also, the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National ssembly Matter s(Senate), Sen. Ita Enang and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Hon. Sulaimon Kawu were also present at the meeting.

Although, the meeting was not concluded yesterday and it is expected to continue today, it was gathered that harmonised team of the National Assembly may have agreed to accommodate the funds by way of virement.

The National Assembly team led by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun and the chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Mustapha Bala Dawaki agreed that the fund be presented as virement.

“They seem to have agreed that the funds should be accommodated by a way of virement. The executive may bring the virement before the National Assembly by next week,” the source added.




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