Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
The Senate has described as “misleading, malicious and false” a report that the National Assembly is frustrating the submission of the 2017 Appropriation Bill because of Presidency’s refusal to approve the constituency projects of the lawmakers.
The statement said the story, which was published by a national daily newspaper (not The PUNCH), quoted an unnamed Presidency official as its source.
The Senate, in the statement signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Abdullahi, said much as the National Assembly did not respond to speculations in the media, it however wished to state that the said news item was “completely false.”
The statement read in part, “The Senate, on November 22, 2016, at the plenary session deliberated on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper and passed it on to its legislative committees for necessary legislative actions and recommendations.
“Throughout the debate at the plenary, no mention was made of the constituency projects of the lawmakers, as it was not the subject of debate. Rather, the senators took time to comment on the observed deficiencies of the MTEF/FSP document before the National Assembly.
“The senators observed the unrealistic aspect of the document, pointing out that it was not in tune with the realities on ground. For instance, the senators who spoke complained against the crude oil benchmark projection and that expectation that over two million barrels of crude oil per day is being projected without taking into cognisance the militancy in the Niger Delta region.
“The Senate, at the plenary, was alarmed on the naira projection to the US dollar, which was not in tandem with the current Central Bank of Nigeria projection of N350 to a US dollar, whereas the MTEF/FSP projected N290 to a US dollar.
“The senators also complained about the projected Gross Domestic Product and projected growth in 2017 and other issues. In none of these was the issue of constituency projects mentioned.”
The Senate described the report as “a product of disinformation and attempt to blackmail the National Assembly.”
“For the records, the Senate has discussed and passed the MTEF/FSP, and subsequently referred it to the relevant Senate committee, and the committee will come up with its recommendations as soon as possible,” it added.
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