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Medium Term Expenditure, 2017 Budget: “Why NASS Is Angry With Buhari”

By Soni Daniel

Abuja—The tussle between the National Assembly and the Presidency over passage of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework necessary for the preparation and the passage of the 2017 budget, may linger for sometime because of the inability of the Federal Government to release the lump sum of N100 billion for the execution of constituency projects by federal lawmakers.

Vanguard learned from authoritative National Assembly sources that the lawmakers were upset by the non-release of the sum of N100 billion, which the Executive had approved for the lawmakers to execute their constituency projects barely a month to the end of the year.

The action of the Presidency, a top National Assembly official said, was provocative and unjustifiable, given the claim by the same Federal Government that more than N900 billion had been for capital projects this year without considering it necessary to pay the constituency funds for the lawmakers’ projects.

Some of the lawmakers, who spoke in confidence to Vanguard last night, said it was clear to them that the Federal Government was deliberately holding on to the funds under the excuse of lack of money to execute the projects, which had always been given to them by successive administrations before Buhari.

“What does the Buhari government take us for? One aggrieved lawmaker asked rhetorically.

“As far as we are concerned, the Buhari administration does not just want to release the money for us to take care of our respective constituencies, apparently to put us at odds with our people.

“Where did they get the money to do other capital projects without having same to pay for our constituency projects?’’ another angry lawmaker queried.

Vanguard gathered that apart from the non-release of the N100 billion for the projects, the lawmakers, cutting across the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, are also unhappy with the Buhari administration for not consulting them before making major appointments in the country.

The NASS hierarchy is said to be upset that Buhari bypassed most of them and make major board and ambassadorial appointments affecting their constituencies thereby rendering them irrelevant politically unlike in the past when such appointees were largely nominated by them.



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