President Muhammadu Buhari has written the National Assembly, notifying federal lawmakers of the corrected version of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.
He, however, emphasized that the draft bill remains the same and there no changes in the figures.
President Buhari had on December 22, 2015 presented a budget proposal of N6.08 trillion for 2016 fiscal year, however, the document became a subject of controversy when the Senate resumed from its three weeks recess last Tuesday to discover that the document was missing.
The controversy further deepened on Thursday when Senate President Bukola Saraki said that based on the findings of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Petitions and Privileges, two different versions of the budget were discovered to be in circulation.
The Senate indicted an aide to the president for making and distributing copies of the 2016 budget different from the version presented by Buhari last year.
The red chamber, therefore, vowed not to work with any other version of the budget except the one submitted by President Buhari.
Dousing the tension created by the controversy surrounding the budget, President Buhari wrote to the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives clarifying the subject matter.
In the letter, dated January 15, 2016 and read by Saraki on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Tuesday, Buhari said he had indicated during his budget presentation that details of the appropriation bill would be checked “to ensure that there were no errors”.
The letter reads: “It will be recalled that on Tuesday, 22 December, 2015, I presented my 2016 budget proposals to the joint sitting of the National Assembly. I submitted a draft bill accompanied by a schedule of details.
“At the time of submission, we indicated that because the details had just been produced, we would have had to check to ensure that there were no errors in the detailed breakdown contained in the schedule. That has since been completed and I understand that the corrections have been submitted.
“The National Assembly would therefore have the details as submitted on the 22nd and a copy containing the corrections submitted last week. It appears that this has led to some confusion”.
“In this regard, please find attached the corrected version. This is the version the National Assembly should work with as my 2016 budget estimates. The draft bill remains the same and there are no changes in any of the figures”, Buhari said in the letter.
A copy of the document containing the corrections was attached to the letter.
Saraki, thereafter, asked the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, to ensure the copies of the corrected document were circulated later Tuesday (today) so that the Senate could commence debate on the budget Wednesday.