The 2016 budget was not padded. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ismail Kawu made this known on Tuesday.
They spoke when they appeared before the leadership of the All Progressives Congress at the party’s headquarters in Abuja over the allegations of the padding of the budget by a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin.
Recall that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, alongside some other principal officers of the House, were accused of padding the budget.
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba, had equally said it was impossible for the National Assembly to pad the budget without the connivance of the Presidency.
But Enang and Kawu said there was not truth in the allegation that the 2016 Budget was padded.
Enang told newsmen:
“I am here on the invitation of the APC leadership with my colleague (Kawu) to answer questions on the 2016 Appropriation Act.
“We have given explanation on every issue.
“There is nothing, to our knowledge, like padding of the budget.
“The budget, as assented to by the President, is the budget passed by the National Assembly and it is being executed.
“For now, the party is handling it as a domestic issue, a party issue.
“All of us have been told not to make public comments because the matter is still under consideration.
“We will not want to go into the details so that we will not breach the party’s directive or pre-empt the outcome of the party’s probe.’’
When asked if the Presidency had cleared Dogara of padding the budget, Enang said: “I will say we came here as persons who work as liaison officers on the budget.
“The party wanted us to make clarifications and we have made those clarifications.
“We will not draw any conclusion.
“Please, let us not go too far by mentioning any office.
“Let it be that two of us have appeared before the party.”
When asked again if the Presidency’s denial of the padding of the budget had dismissed Jibrin’s allegation, Enang stated that there was nothing like padding in the legislature.
He said the legislature had the constitutional duty to amend the Appropriation Bill sent to it by the President.
He said: “In all our years of legislative engagement, we have yet to find in the legislative lexicon the word, ‘padding’.
“When the budget is presented before the legislature, the legislature is to consider the budget and pass as it deems fit.
“So, what the legislature passes becomes the Appropriation Act upon assent.
“Therefore, any word which has yet to crystallise in legislative lexicon, you cannot hear us mention it.”