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Saturday, 26 November 2016

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2017 budget: There ‘ll be no padding, Buhari vows

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to remove any unauthorized projects likely to come under “padded” arrangements in the soon-to-be laid 2017 budget estimates.
It was learnt that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the document might be presented to
a joint session of the National Assembly by the president on December 1,2016.

President Buhari’s decision to ensure that the budget would not be padded followed the distortions that accompanied Budget 2016, in which series of  projects and figures were injected into the financial document.

Receiving members of the Governance Support Group (GSG), led by Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, at State House, Abuja, Friday, the President said: “I am waiting for the 2017 Budget to be brought to us in Council. Any sign of padding anywhere, I will remove it.”
President Buhari

He recalled that he had hitherto been in government since 1975, variously as governor, oil minister, head of state, and Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), “and never did I hear the word ‘padding’ till the 2016 Budget”, promising to forestall the re-occurrence of what happened to this year’s budget.

The President also said his government had not deviated from its tripod campaign promises of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, but lamented that some people were deliberately turning blind eyes to prevailing realities in the country.

“They don’t want to reflect on the situation in which we are, economically. They want to live the same way; they simply want business as usual,” he said.
Speaking on the violence that usually characterized rerun elections in the country, President Buhari stated it was barbaric.

He however hoped that Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo state would be credible and devoid of blood shed.

“I agonized over the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states. We should have passed the stage in which people are beheaded, and killed because of who occupies certain offices. If we can’t guarantee decent elections, then we have no business being around. Edo State election was good, and I expect Ondo State election to be better”, he said.

Speaking on the anti-corruption cases before the courts, the President said he believed the cleansing currently going on “will lead to a better judiciary. When people are sentenced, Nigerians will believe that we are serious.”

President Buhari equally told his audience that the progress being made in agriculture and exploitation of solid minerals “gives a lot of hope,” adding: “Our grains go up to Central African Republic, to Burkina Faso, but they can’t buy all the grains harvested this year. And next season should be even better. We will focus on other products like cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, along with the grains. We can start exporting rice in 18 months, and we are getting fertilizers and pesticides in readiness for next year.”

Speaking on behalf of members of GSG, Hon. Nwajiuba said the government had succeeded to a large extent on the security and anti-corruption fronts, adding that the group was positive that the economy would soon experience a turnaround, “as the government is working very hard in that direction.”

The group said the biggest constituency of the President was the poor and lowly, and thus recommended what it calls “a social re-armament of the poor.”

Speaking to the State House Correspondents, a member of Group and former deputy governor of Bauchi State, Mr. Garba Gadi said that the group had been in existence since 2002.
According to him, the meeting with the president touched on the ongoing anti-corruption war, security and other national issues.

Similarly, another member of the group and incidentally, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, VON, Mr. Osita Okechukwu remarked that though president Buhari met the country in deep mess, he was working assiduously to reposition it, urging for support for him.

Posted By: David Lilwizprince