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Nigeria News: 2009 Budget still realistic, says National Assembly

House of Representatives has said contrary  to the impression created by the Presidency, emerging information indicates that the country’s earnings since the beginning of the fiscal year were already in excess of  projections in the 2009 budget.
The lingering budget row between the executive and the legislature was re-opened yesterday,  with security beefed-up around the National Assembly, following  a bomb scare and rumoured threats that  Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) was planning to attack the imposing edifice.
The  Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation was last week mandated to investigate  the  facts   behind a  letter sent to the House by President Umaru Yar’Adua on the budget.

Yar’Adua  had informed the House of  the  challenges  the executive   was facing in  implementation of the 2009 budget  and accused the National Assembly  of being responsible for most of the constraints in the budget.
Although, the report of the Joint Committee  have not been unveiled on the floor of the House,  Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Honourable  Eseme Eyiboh, said  there were strong  indications yesterday that the House  Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation  which investigated the allegations  have discovered  something different.
Yar Adua, in  the letter, submitted that the only way out  was to  review the budget and propose  sending a supplementary budget to ameliorate the situation.

 At a news conference yesterday, Eyiboh said there were indications that  despite the global meltdown, the Niger Delta crisis  and crash in non-oil earnings,  revenue accruing to the Federal Government has improved far beyond  projections  in the 2009 Appropriation Act.
He argued that the Federal Government while bemoaning the crash in revenue,   had at the same  time being involved in the granting of frivolous waivers and concessions to certain business interests in the country   and plans to loan money to some countries.

He  however, maintained that he would not want to pre-empt  the findings of the Joint Committee  until the report was debated in plenary.