Comments on 2017 budget: Fashola appears before Reps, denies insulting lawmakers
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) has appeared before members of the House of Representatives to clear the air on his alleged offensive comments on the 2017 budget.
TheNewsGuru.com reports that the minister had about a month ago raised the alarm that the National Assembly ‘smuggled’ some strange items into the 2017 budget.
In his words: “What I have in my budget now is primary healthcare centres, boreholes,’’ he said at an interactive session with editors on Thursday.
“That was the meeting we had with the Acting President and that was the reason why the budget was not signed on time.
“We were ask to complete those abandoned projects; the budget of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was reduced by the National Assembly from N31 billion to N10 billion.
“We are owing the contractors about N15 billion and they have written to us that they are going to shut down.
“Also, the budget of the 2nd Niger bridge was reduced from N15 billion to N10 billion and about N3 billion or so was removed from the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road budget.’’
Fashola added: “Everybody is complaining about power supply but they also cut the budget for Manbila power project and the Bodo bridge that connects the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Station was also cut and all these were also discussed.
“If after we have defended the budget and we had gone and the legislature unilaterally changed the budget, what is the purpose of deliberation?’’
TheNewsGuru.com reports that the National Assembly members took offence and lashed out at the minister saying his attempt to blackmail them before the public will not work. They further summoned him to appear before them to clear the air on his comments on the budget.
The minister who appeared before the honourable members alongside his aides as early as 9.45am told the Aliyu Madaki-led adhoc committee that there was no time he deliberately disparaged the National Assembly as alleged.