SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday received the 2017 budget passed by the National Assembly last week..
The appropriation bill was presented to the Acting President by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang at the Presidential Villa, Abuja behind closed-doors.
Speaking to newsmen after the presentation, Senator iEnang said the Acting President would assent to it in accordance with laid down procedure.
It would be recalled that Enang had on said in a television programme on Wednesday that the budget would br taken to President Muhammadu Buhari in London for assent before it would be passed to Osinbajo for implementation.
Same day, the Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed told State House correspondents that decision was yet to be taken on who would sign the budget.
The statement elicited negative reactions from members of the public who could not reconcile these positions with the transfer of power to Osinbajo by President Buhari before he jetted out to London on medical vacation.
In a swift reaction, however, the office of the Acting President countered that Osinbajo would sign the budget when it is received by the Presidency in exercise of his full presidential powers.
“The budget as passed by the National Assembly has just been transmitted to the Acting President. I just delivered it.
“Let me use this opportunity to clarify an issue. The Acting President has the power to assent to the budget and he will assent to it when the processes are completed.
“The Acting President has the power to assent to the budget. In February, he assented to 7 or 8 bills. Those that he didn’t agree with, he wrote the Senate and House of Representatives that he had withheld his assent from them.
“He has the power of the president to assent to it. But the assent to the Appropriation Bill will be after the completion of the standard operation process. The bill has 30 days within which it will be assented to but the process can be completed within two or three days.
“So, it is not possible to say it will be assented to in so, so and so day or in two or three days. It’s upon the completipn of the process that it will be assented to by the president and the president here now is the acting president,” Enang recanted.
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