The Nigeria presidency Sunday night blamed the delay in submitting the supplementary budget, containing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) estimates for the 2019 general election, to the National Assembly on the late passage of the 2018 budget by the federal legislature.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement denied the allegation by Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, that the executive sent the INEC budget several months after INEC submitted it to the executive.
Shehu insisted that Saraki should rather be blamed for putting the country under tension in relation to INEC’s budget and the preparation for 2019 polls.
According to the statement, the supplementary budget could only be submitted after the passage of the main budget and since the budget was delayed for seven months by the National Assembly, it couldn’t have been submitted earlier.
The statement read: “The presidency wishes to respond to the false to accusations by Senator Saraki who alleged that President Buhari is to blame for the delay in approving the supplementary budget for INEC.
“On the contrary, the Senate President should look into the mirror and what he will see is his own face. He is solely to be held responsible for deliberately driving the nation to this cliff edge as far as the preparations for next elections are concerned.
“It is not true that INEC submitted their draft budget to the presidency in February.
“No, it came much later but even then, this is not the real issue.
The fact that their proposals came well after the president had laid his budget for the year 2018 before the National Assembly meant that their own will be sent as supplementary budget. This was clearly stated to them by the Minister of Budget and National Planning.
“A supplementary budget cannot be submitted until the main budget is passed, and so the delay in passing the main budget was the reason for the delay. The National Assembly passed the 2018 budget seven months after the document was submitted to the National Assembly by President Buhari.