The House of Representatives said on Sunday that the 2016 budget would require “thorough overhauling” by the National Assembly to bring it in tune with current economic realities.
The green chamber said the chances of returning the N6.08 trillion budget to President Muhammadu Buhari in the same content and structure that it came to the National Assembly, was slim.
The executive is projecting to drive the 2016 budget on a crude oil benchmark of $38 per barrel while actual price had dipped far below that figure since the president presented the Appropriation Bill before a joint session of the National Assembly last Tuesday.
Speaking on the possibility of implementing the budget the way it was presented to the NASS, House Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, said President Buhari should know that what he sent were “mere proposals”, which might be tinkered with eventually.
“What we have before us are mere proposals. None is sacrosanct.
“That is why we are the legislature, which has the power of appropriation.
“The proposals will be subjected to thorough overhauling, taking into cognizance the current economic realities of the country and our revenue expectations from funding sources”, Ogor added.
Also speaking in the same vein, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, said he had heard complaints about the crude oil benchmark, the cuts in the allocations of the National Assembly and the judiciary.
Namdas, who stressed that the House had not taken a position on any issue yet since members were still on Christmas and New Year recess, agreed that the budget will not go back the same way it came to the NASS.
He said: “We don’t have the details or breakdown as yet. The budget was laid and we proceeded on break immediately.
“It is only when we resume in January that work on the budget will start. It is hasty to say, yes, we will increase this allocation or reduce that one. No, I can’t say so now.
“But, one thing is certain, no budget ever returns to the executive the way it came to the National Assembly”.