Padding: Presidency says NASS added N1.27tn to 2024 budget

Padding: Presidency says NASS added N1.27tn to 2024 budget


The Senate has stated that there was no padding in the N28.77 trillion passed by both the joint chambers of the National Assembly.

The Senate made this known through its spokesperson, Senator Yemi Adaramodu, on Saturday evening while reacting to the issue of budget padding raised by the Senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District (from the Peoples Democratic Party), Abdul Ningi.

However, the Presidency, in a statement issued on Saturday, clarified that the National Assembly added N1.27tn to the 2024 budget, but it does “not see where the N3tn is coming from.”

Adaramodu, in a chat with our correspondent, noted that the budget was a public document and was in the public space for Nigerians to peruse.

The BBC Hausa service on Saturday had, in a report, quoted Senator Ningi, the Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum, as alleging that the Federal Government was operating an N28tn budget, contrary to the N25tn passed by the National Assembly.

Senator Ningi had said in the report, “Apart from what the National Assembly did on the floor, there was another budget that was done underground which we didn’t know.

“The new things we have discovered in the budget were not known to us. We haven’t seen them in the budget that was debated and considered on the floor of the National Assembly.

“For example, it was said that there was a budget of N28tn but what was passed was N25 trillion. So there is N3tn on top. Where are they, where is it going? So, we need to know this. There are a lot of things.

“For the first time in Nigerian history, today we are operating two different budgets. One budget was approved by the National Assembly and signed by President Bola Tinubu and the other was implemented by the Presidency.

“The one approved by us is N25tn while the one operated by the Federal Government is N28tn. Apparently, we discovered N3tn was inserted into the budgets without locations. This is the highest budget padding that happened in Nigerian history under Sen. Akpabio’s watch.

“We resolved as people’s representative to see President Tinubu on this issue, with facts and figures, to ask him if he is aware of this embarrassment or not, then from there we will take action. Let Nigerians be patient with us.”

Responding to this, the Senate Spokesperson said, “There is no budget padding as far as the Senate and the National Assembly are concerned.

“The national budget is a public document, which expressly states the expected revenue and the expenditure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The Senate under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio is not aware of any varied execution of the 2024 appropriation mandate, as approved.”

Senator Adaramodu added, “The budget presentation and approval processes were made in the public glare, while the Presidential assent was also in a public ceremony.

“Any infractions would have been brought before the Senate, if any. The general public should be at rest that there is no budget padding anywhere and we are confident that the 2024 appropriation law shall be strictly executed, under strict legislative oversight.”

Meanwhile, the Presidency has weighed in on allegations of budget padding levelled against it by Ningi.

Speaking to our correspondent on Saturday, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said, “The National Assembly added N1.27tn to the 2024 budget. So, we do not see where the N3tn is coming from.

“What we know is that the NASS approved a budget of N28tn which the President signed. What the President signed was the budget approved by the National Assembly, by the two houses.

“The 2023 supplementary budget was passed separately to run concurrently with this year’s budget until March.”

Ningi had also said the Forum would confront Akpabio with its findings on the budget.

“We want to show him what we have seen in the budget that is not acceptable, we will not accept them, and we don’t want the country to continue spending money on those things,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Head Press and Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Chukwu Helen, said she was not in a position to confirm whether the budget was padded with the said amount.

She promised to revert upon confirmation from the budget officer of the ministry. However, she has yet to revert as of the time of filing this report.

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