OrderPaperToday- The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma has denied blaming the National Assembly for the delay in presenting the 2019 budget.
Several newspapers quoted the Minister saying that the Federal Government was waiting on the National Assembly to present the budget.
“As you already know, the budget is ready. We are liaising with the National Assembly because they are to give us a date. If they say today, we will go. The budget is ready,” the Minister said after yesterday’s Federal executive meeting according to a report by ThisDay.
The comment infuriated members of the House of Representatives, today, who demanded an apology from Udoma shortly after Speaker Yakubu Dogara read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari, notifying the legislature of his intention to lay the budget next week.
In response to this, through a statement signed by Akpandem James, his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, the Minister explained that reporters “misconstrued” his response when he was asked when the budget would be submitted to the National Assembly.
According to the statement: “Going by the headlines in some news media today in respect of the presentation of the 2019 Budget to the National Assembly, it is obvious that some of the reporters misconstrued the response of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, when he was asked when the budget would be submitted to the Legislature.
“The Minister simply said that as is the procedure when the budget is ready, the Executive liaises with the National Assembly for a date which the Budget will be laid before the joint session of the Assembly; and that the process is on already.”
The statement added: “The Minister at no time throughout the interaction with the media blamed the National Assembly for the delay in the presentation, nor gave the impression that there was any issue between the two arms of government over the 2019 budget.”