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Senate confirms 2016 budget has gone missing

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A federal lawmaker has told newsmen that there were fears that the 2016 budget had disappeared from the National Assembly.

Buhari locked in controversy with Saraki over the missing budget

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed that the 2016 budget was, in reality, missing.

The Senate President Bukola Saraki while reacting to a point of order raised on the budget by Senator Abaribe Enyinaya said some Senators have been given the assignment to search for it.

Elombah.com had broken the shocking news on Tuesday that the 2016 budget, which was personally delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari, had gone missing.

A dependable source who pleaded anonymity had said that the “missing budget” was the crux of the discussion at Tuesday’s executive session of the Senate, which lasted more than an hour. 

“The truth is there is no 2016 budget at the national assembly at present,” he said. “When a package supposedly containing the budget was laid by the president last year, the national assembly received it but did not open it.

Also, following the shocking revelation, President Buhari was locked in a closed-door meeting with Senate president and Chairman of the National Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki.

Although the presidency did not deny the missing budget saga, it did maintain its earlier stance that the President has not withdrawn the 2016 Budget proposal he submitted to the joint session of the National Assembly on December 22, 2015.

A federal lawmaker, however, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told newsmen that there were fears that the 2016 budget had disappeared from the National Assembly.

Earlier, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari declined to comment on the budget issue when reporters asked him questions about the alleged missing 2016 budget.

Some opposition senators have reacted angrily to the news of the missing documents, accusing the government of being behind their disappearance.

However, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said the proposal could not be said to be missing because hundreds of copies of it were delivered to the National Assembly.

He said: “Nobody except the President can withdraw the budget. As far as we know, he hasn’t done that. The copies in their hundreds have been delivered to both chambers of the National Assembly.

“By tradition, once the budget is submitted, it ceases to be our property.

The Senate on resumption of plenary on Tuesday went into a closed-door session which lasted for nearly two hours.

A lawmaker said the issue of the whereabouts of the budget was discussed during the closed door meeting. 

The delay could worsen the country’s economic crisis as it deals with the impact of plunging oil prices. Both houses are expected to take about two months to consider the $31bn (£20.8bn) budget.

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