Breaking News: Fear grips ministers over errors in 2019 budget

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The House of Representatives has again suspended debate on the provisions of the 2019 appropriation bill over what it described as “irreconcilable differences” in the document.

The lawmakers said they restricted themselves to the general principles of the budget proposal when it was brought up for debate on Wednesday.

When the debate commenced, Chika Adamu, from Niger State drew the attention of the lawmakers to discrepancies he said were evident in the allocations of respective ministries.
He said the proposed allocations to the ministries of Finance, Education, Budget and National Planning; Budget Office and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation under main statutory components did not correspond with the total summary in the budget document.

He said there is need to reconcile the discrepancies before the debate on the various provisions in the appropriation bill.

For his part, Ahman Pategi said the difference in figures could be a typographical error as all figures were correct except in the summary section. He suggested a meeting between the Appropriate Committee and the affected agencies for the issue to be sorted out.

Responding, Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House, said head of the Budget Office, ministers of Finance and that of Budget and National Planing would be invited over the matter.

“There are so many irreconcilable differences in the figures allotted in the budget. By tomorrow, they must give us reconciled figures,” he said. “I will direct the relevant committees to direct the Ministry of Finance and Budget/National Planning.

Today, we confine ourselves to the general principles of the budget.” Last week, the lower legislative chamber also postponed debate on the budget after the documents were distributed late to the lawmakers.

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