The Presidency has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2022 budget despite his reservation over the insertion of 6,576 contracts into it by the National Assembly.
It also denounced the interpretations of Buhari misgivings about the inclusion of the contracts as a sign of a battle between the Executive and the Legislature.
In a statement issued yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said that the President signed the bill in order not to “throw away the baby with the bath water.”
Shehu however hinted that an amendment to the 2022 Amendment Budget was in the offing.
He said, “Given Mr. President’s commitment to improving the lot of the common man, it was felt that it would not be wise to throw away the baby with the bathwater.
“Mr. President was clear and candid in expressing his reservations with the numerous changes to the 2022 Budget made by the National Assembly, which would hamper its implementation.
“However, to respond to critics that question why assent to the budget if it was so severely tampered with, we wish to respond as follows:
-need to Save Value-Additive Projects, Programmes and Policies;
-although over 10,733 projects were reduced and 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly, there are tens of thousands more provisions in the 2022 Budget, all of which, when efficiently and effectively implemented, will have significant developmental impact on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Nigerians.
-Ongoing capital projects, critical recurrent votes, priority new projects – all feature in the 2022 Budget and Mr. President’s forbearance in assenting to the Budget will save these provisions from implementation delays and other challenges; and
-Dealing with modern democratic norms: President Buhari is a democrat who deeply believes in the supremacy of the Constitution, with its checks and balances across the three arms of Government.”
Mallam Garba Shehu maintained that while it is true that Buhari also expressed disagreement with other alterations, including the ‘reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects,’ “innumerable lies are being spread about his (President) being ‘angry’ at the parliament.
“This cannot be farther from the truth,” he added.
Shehu pointed out that as Senator Ahmed Lawan said shortly after the budget signing, disagreements as the ones listed by Buhari are normal in the everyday Executive-Parliamentary relationships
He added that, “While we note that there are people who are trying to create a fiasco between the two arms of government on account of the budget, we assure that they will, in the end, be disappointed.
”The Executive and the 9th National Assembly have since moved away from the wild, destructive political games of the past, conducting themselves in a way that puts national interest supreme in their decisions.”