2016 budget still work in progress – FEC …Buhari absent as Ministers consider details

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By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Friday rose from its emergency meeting with a verdict that the 2016 budget was still work in progress.
The emergency FEC meeting was called by President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the budget estimates submitted to the presidency Thursday by the National Assembly,
Buhari had last week withheld his assent to the budget duly passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly on the excuse that the details were not fowarded to him by the federal legislature.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the Ministers had been mandated to study the budget details as it affected their respective Ministries.
According to him, the meeting had broken up after sitting for two hours apparently to enable Muslims observe the Friday prayers.
He stated that the meeting would continue later in the day, hinting that there would be a statement on its resolution at the end.
“As you all know, we received the details of the 2016 budget from the National Assembly yesterday (Thursay). An ordinary meeting of the Federal Executive Council was called this morning for the available Ministers to look at the details of the budget and how it affects his or her ministry.
“Let’s say that at this point, it is still work in progress. We have broken up to resume later in the afternoon. There is nothing definite to say. Yes, we have seen it. We are studying it and we will come out with a statement later”, Mohammed said.
The FEC meeting, however failed to reconvene at the time of filing this report, several hours after the Juma’at prayers.
Meanwhile, President Buhari did not attend Thursday’s emergency session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which he had summoned to review the 2016 Appropriation Bill submitted to him on Thursday.
The meeting started at 11am with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presiding at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President’s absence appeared to have taken some of the Ministers unawares as some displayed surprised looks when it became apparent that the President would no not be available to preside over the session.
Buhari had summoned the meeting upon receiving details of the budget passed by the National Assembly.
The 1,800-page document was handed over to him on Thursday following which he had called the emergency meeting to review its contents.
No reason was given for the President’s absence before the media was excused from inside the Council Chambers, venue of the meeting.

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