A Needful Stalemate – Buhari Should Not Make the Same Mistake Twice

PIDF

After the Senate announced that it has passed the 2016 Appropriation Bill, also known as the budget, all that is needed is for Muhammadu Buhari, the President, to sign the document which then means that the various arms of government can use the budget as a legal document.

Continuous uncertainty has left the Naira (NGN), in the trenches. His lack of a concrete economic policy, has forced private businesses to put on hold their economic and marketing activities. But to sign a sensitive document such as the budget without sighting, is not an option.

While the Senate has only given top line details about the passed budget, neither the presidency nor the media can confirm that they have a concrete document from the Senate. There is another series of media and political pressure brewing. All eyes are on the President, to sign the document. There seems to be a persistent amnesia on the part of many who are quick to forget the national embarrassment the 2016 appropriation bill has brought upon Nigeria.

Senator-Udo-Udoma-Minister-of-Budget-and-National-Planning
Udo Udoma, Nigeria’s Minister of Budget and National Planning

The Senate had accused President Buhari of submitting an error-riddled and heavily padded budget to them. The same Senate refused to deliberate on the bill until it ‘scrutinized’ every aspect of the budget. The Senate claimed it unearthed series of fraudulent items in the budget. As a face-saving move, President Buhari had sacked and redeployed top civil servants at the National Budget and Planning Office, a decision seen by many as a move to exonerate himself from the scandal.

It is however ludicrous that the same economic/political activists are mounting pressure on President Buhari to sign a document he has not scrutinized. His credibility and ability to govern Nigeria has already been questioned. His approval rating has plummeted to an all time low of 25%. If he goes ahead to sign an invisible budget into law, then he will have justified his critics that he lacks the capacity to lead Nigeria.

President Buhari must however get his team ready to work round-the-clock once the budget is received, Nigeria’s economy is in tatters and foreign investors fleeing in droves. Continuous uncertainty has left the Naira (NGN), in the trenches. His lack of a concrete economic policy, has forced private businesses to put on hold their economic and marketing activities. But to sign a sensitive document such as the budget without sighting, is not an option.