President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that the days of Budget padding are over. He made the statement when he received members of the Governance Support Group (GSG), led by Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, at State House, Abuja on Friday. According to the President the distortions in the 2016 budget will definitely not happen with the proposed 2017 budget.
President Buhari said: “I am waiting for the 2017 Budget to be brought to us in Council. Any sign of padding anywhere, I will remove it.”
The President once again told his guests that he had been in government since 1975, variously as governor, oil minister, head of state, and Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), “and never did I hear the word ‘padding’ till the 2016 Budget.”
He also reiterated that his administration stands committed to its tripod campaign promises of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, but lamented that some people are deliberately turning blind eyes to prevailing realities in the country.
According to him,“They don’t want to reflect on the situation in which we are, economically. They want to live the same way; they simply want business as usual.”
President Buhari also expressed his agony over electoral violence that makes it almost impossible to conduct re-run elections in some states in the country.
“I agonized over the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states. We should have passed the stage in which people are beheaded, and killed because of who occupies certain offices. If we can’t guarantee decent elections, then we have no business being around. Edo State election was good, and I expect Ondo State election to be better.”
On the anti-corruption cases before the courts, the President expressed his belief the cleansing currently going on “will lead to a better judiciary”.
“When people are sentenced, Nigerians will believe that we are serious.”
The President also informed his guests that the progress being made in agriculture and exploitation of solid minerals.
“Our grains go up to Central African Republic, to Burkina Faso, but they can’t buy all the grains harvested this year. And next season should be even better.” he said.
“We will focus on other products like cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, along with the grains. We can start exporting rice in 18 months, and we are getting fertilizers and pesticides in readiness for next year.”