Senate President Bukola Saraki has responded to a budget padding allegation leveled against him by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu also slammed the Senate leadership for working against President Muhammadu Buhari in major policies.
Saraki via a statement by his media adviser, Yusuph Oloniyonu, decried what he described as Tinubu’s “quarterly attacks” on the President the Senate.
“First, he alleged that national budgets were delayed, distorted, padded, new projects introduced, funds for projects reduced, “to halt progress of government”.
“It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should not have a better understanding of how the legislature works.
“The passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate.
“Most of the work is done by the various committees. These committees are headed by Senators representing different parties.
“It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed.
“To put the blame of budget delay on the Senate President or Speaker can only be mischief, or at best, playing to the gallery.
“It is also a known fact that any so-called delay in the passage of budgets under the Eighth National Assembly is traceable to the refusal of heads of MDAs to defend the budget proposals for their agencies on time.
“Lastyear, the President himself had to direct the Secretary to Federal Government to compel heads of MDAs to appear before the National Assembly committees following the report made to him by Dr. Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
“So, if a man like Tinubu is spreading this falsehood about budget passage and delay being deliberately orchestrated by the National Assembly leadership, one wonders whether he tries to even understand what happens in the federal legislature at all or is that the only thing that is of interest to him is ‘jockeying and maneuvering for influence’, as he puts it.
“To further make the points here clear, we invite Tinubu to look at the records of the time of submission of budgets and their passage since 2010 and he will see that with the exception of the 2013 budget which was passed on December 20, 2012, all the budgets have been passed between March and May of the same fiscal year.
“This should give him a better understanding of the fact that the date the Appropriations Bill is submitted to parliament and the readiness of the MDAs to defend the proposals submitted, as well as timely agreement on the figures by both chambers of the National Assembly, are the main determining factors in when the budget is eventually passed. So, Tinubu should see that the facts cannot support his spins and fake narrative”.