Alleged budget padding: We are disappointed in Ningi’s outburst – Arewa Think Tank

GodGift Ifunanya
4 Min Read

ANorthern organization, Arewa Think Tank, has expressed its disappointment over the recent remarks made by Abdul Ningi, the chairman of the Northern Senators Forum.

According to the group, Senator Ningi’s assertion during an interview with BBC Hausa Service, claiming that the National Assembly passed a budget of N25 trillion for 2024, contradicts the N28.7 trillion budget currently being implemented by the federal government.

Senator Ningi who represents Bauchi Central acted under the banner of the Northern Senators Forum when he made the claims in an interview he granted BBC Hausa Service.

The lawmaker also lamented in that interview that things have become worse in the country under President Bola Tinubu’s government, adding that Nigerians are going through a lot of challenges

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Addressing a press conference, the Chief Convener of Arewa Think Tank, Muhammad Alhaji Yakubu, said the claims by Senator Ningi that President Tinubu-led federal government is operating two versions of the 2024 budget, contained no single iota of truth whatsoever in the allegation.

He said: “To begin with, President Tinubu on November 29, 2023, presented a budget of N27.5 Trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly made up of N9.92 Trillion recurrent expenditure, Debt Service of N8.25 Trillion, and Capital Expenditure of N8.7 Trillion.

“This was widely reported by the media and other relevant channels of communication. President Tinubu did not present a budget of N25 Trillion.

“We cannot make any sensible point out of the strange view expressed by Senator Ningi, because there was no way the Senate could have debated and passed an N25 Trillion budget that was not presented to the National Assembly.

“We don’t expect a ranking Senator not to pay due attention to details before making wild and ambiguous claims.

“We consider it necessary and important to let Nigerians know that the budget that President Tinubu signed into law on January 1, 2024, as passed by the National Assembly was N28.7 Trillion.

“The National Assembly which Senator Ningi is part and parcel of, in its wisdom, increased the amount proposed by the Executive by N1.2 Trillion.

“In the spirit of democracy which allows give and take, President Tinubu didn’t withhold his assent to the Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly.

“We want to make it clear to the understanding of Nigerians that if the budget figure was increased and made to be different from what the Executive proposed, it was the National Assembly that jacked it up in the exercise of its power of appropriation.

“On the uncharitable claim that the 2024 budget was anti-North, we found such a position as canvassed by Senator Ningi too far-fetched and unbecoming of a leader of his status from the Northern region of the country. We distance ourselves from the lawmaker on this.

“President Tinubu is leading a government that is fair and equitable to every part and segment of Nigeria. In terms of funding, distribution of capital, and priority projects, the 2024 Appropriation Act was not skewed against any section of the country.”

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