PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, February 23, vowed that all those involved in the “padding” of the 2016 National Budget which led to the discrepancies in the document would be severely punished.
Buhari said the alterations which he described as embarrassing and disappointing, made the document being debated in the National Assembly completely different from what was prepared by the ministry of Budget and National Planning.
The president’s statement was contained in a release signed by Femi Adesina, his special adviser on media and publicity, when Buhari addressed Nigerian community in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Buhari was said to have condemned the distortion of the budget proposals by those he called entrenched interests.
The president who expressed surprise at the incident said since he had been holding public offices, he had never heard about budget padding before the incident.
Buhari, however, absolved Udo Udoma, minister of Budget and National Planning, from the complicity, saying he worked did a good job.
“The Minister became almost half his size during the time, working night and day to get the budget ready, only for some people to pad it.
“What he gave us was not what was finally being debated. It is very embarrassing and disappointing. We will not allow those who did it to go unpunished,” the president said.
Buhari assured members of the Nigerian community that his administration was working diligently to fulfill its campaign promises, particularly on security, unemployment, and corruption.
On the war corruption, the president acknowledged that task was not easy, but he insisted: “We have zero tolerance for corruption and other unethical practices. We will deal decisively with anybody found wanting.”
— Feb 24, 2016 @ 14:20 GMT