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Confusion as Tinubu accused of presenting empty budget box to national assembly

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A member of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Galambi, has accused President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of presenting ’empty’ boxes supposedly containing the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.


Mr Galambi, a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) representing Gwaram federal constituency of Jigawa State, made the allegation during an interview with BBC Hausa Service on Friday.

Recall that the president, on Wednesday, presented the N27.5 trillion proposed budget for 2024 to the joint session of the National Assembly co-chaired by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen.

The appropriation bill named ‘Budget of Renewed Rope’, according to the president was designed to address economic growth, human capital development, poverty reduction and insecurity.

Procedurally, after reading his budget speech, President Tinubu laid two boxes containing the budget documents on the table in front of the presiding officers. The boxes had the colour of the Nigerian national flag of green-white-green.

However, speaking to BBC Hausa, Galambi said Tinubu read out his budget speech including proposals for sectors but did not give the lawmakers the documents as was the tradition by previous presidents.

Galambi said the boxes Mr Tinubu ‘bowed’ and kept for the lawmakers were empty.

“The president read out to us his speech on the proposed budget but we’ve not seen the document to work on.

“Of course, he read the estimates for the various sectors. But as it has always been the tradition, a document is always presented (to the lawmakers) but he (Mr Tinubu) didn’t do that,” he said.

When the BBC reporter insisted that the president was seen laying the “document”, Mr Galambi said when the lawmakers checked they couldn’t find anything in the boxes laid by Mr Tinubu.

READ ALSO  “Tinubu’s 2024 budget deceitful, has no mechanism for economic recovery" – PDP says

“We’ve checked but there was nothing inside. We checked it. In the history of the National Assembly, this was the first time such a thing happened.

“The constitution has made it clear (that a document must be presented) but this time, it was only a reading on paper. They didn’t provide the document for us to go through and see what is proposed for each sector. Maybe they’ll bring it later,” Mr Galambi said.

The opposition lawmaker, who was first elected into the House in 2007, said the decision by Mr Tinubu to present empty boxes surprised the lawmakers because “we never expected it even in our wildest dreams.”

Mr Galambi accused the president of deceit.

“If he (Mr Tinubu) was not ready, if the budget proposal was not ready to be presented, he shouldn’t have come and said he was done. We could have given him more time, why the haste? Why would he come and read something and even say he has kept it (document) when it’s empty,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Northern Caucus chairman in the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ado Alhassan Doguwa, has debunked as incorrect the report that President Bola Tinubu presented an empty budget box during his budget presentation on Wednesday.

“What people don’t know is that the President had submitted a flash drive of the whole budget before his presentation to the joint chambers,” he said.

In a statement he released titled “Stop the Misrepresentation of Facts: We Did Not Receive Empty 2024 Budget Box from President Tinubu,” Doguwa said the speculation is unfounded.

The Northern Caucus chairman in the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ado Alhassan Doguwa, has debunked as incorrect the report that President Bola Tinubu presented an empty budget box during his budget presentation on Wednesday.

READ ALSO  Tinubu’s government begs Nigerians to bear with economic hardship, says they will soon see effects of 2024 budget

“What people don’t know is that the President had submitted a flash drive of the whole budget before his presentation to the joint chambers,” he said.

In a statement he released titled “Stop the Misrepresentation of Facts: We Did Not Receive Empty 2024 Budget Box from President Tinubu,” Doguwa said the speculation is unfounded.

Doguwa said: “I write in response to the mischievous insinuations that Mr. President laid empty boxes before the National Assembly on the day he presented the Appropriation Bill 2024.”

“What people don’t know is that Mr President had earlier submitted a flash drive as a soft copy of the 2024 Budget, which is now being printed out in hard copies, and as usual, brought one single hard copy of the budget to the floor,” Doguwa stated.

“Be that as it may, senators and honourable members were satisfied and were conveniently guided by the verbal presentation and the way Mr President dissected the budget and gave a specific analysis of the funds allocated to the various sectors of the economy. I, therefore, want to say that any media or mischievous reports insinuating that Mr. President laid empty boxes were not true and unfounded.”

Doguwa, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, insisted: “Such reports are only being perpetrated by mischief makers and opposition members who would always criticise the government with or without reasonable cause. I further wish to urge Nigerians to disregard such insinuations and condemn the perpetrators, as they are enemies of Nigeria’s progress.”

He further affirmed that the House Committee on Petroleum Upstream will start budget defence on estimates of agencies under its supervision next week.

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