17 April 2016
Following back and forth accusations between the Nigerian Senate and the Federal Government concerning certain missing projects in the 2016 budget, the office of the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning has responded to the growing allegations in a press statement released this afternoon.
The aim of the statement, which was signed by the Media Adviser to the Honourable Minister, Akpandem James, was to set the record straight as regards the current state of the country’s 2016 budget, as it explains that immediately the President received the budget from the National Assembly on Thursday the 7th of April 2016, he “directed that copies should be made available to Heads of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government. Ministers were asked to go through the details and give their reactions as it affects their respective Ministries so as to guide the President and enable him sign the Appropriation Bill into law.”
According to the press statement, “That process is still on-going and no statement has been issued by the Executive on the matter, apart from the one by the Honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohamnmed[sic], to confirm that details of the budget are being examined. No final decision has been taken by the President and no other statement whatsoever has been issued on the matter.”
The statement read further, “The N60b provided in the budget for the Lagos – Kano and Calabar – Lagos rail lines, respectively, is counterpart funding, to support the Chinese financing for the projects. These projects are part of the Strategic Implementation Plan of the government which was disclosed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning at the National Economic Council Retreat in March 2016, in the presence of state governors.”
“They were also mentioned by the Vice President last week in Lagos at The Nation Newspaper’s First National Economic Forum. It is hoped that with this clarification, the raging controversy over the Calabar – Lagos rail project will be put to rest.”