President Muhammadu Buhari has warned against padding of any form of padding in 2017 budget.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adeshina, the president made the declaration on Friday while receiving members of Governance Support Group (GSG), led by Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, at State House, Abuja.
The President vowed to never allow a reoccurrence of padding under his watch.
Buhari who re-iterated that he had been in government since 1975, variously as governor, oil minister, head of state, and Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), said he had never heard padding until it happened in the 2016 budget.
The president who said he was still awaiting the 2017 budget to be presented to Federal Executive Council, promised to remove any form of padding that might occur in the budget.
“I am waiting for the 2017 Budget to be brought to us in Council. Any sign of padding anywhere, I will remove it.” he said.
The President said the government stands by its tripod campaign promises of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, but lamented that some people are deliberately turning blind eyes to prevailing realities in the country.
“They don’t want to reflect on the situation in which we are, economically. They want to live the same way; they simply want business as usual,” he said.
Speaking post rerun election violence in the country, the President expressed displeasure with such occurrences, saying he hopes Ondo State governorship election, slated for Saturday would be better.
“I agonized over the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states. We should have passed the stage in which people are beheaded, and killed because of who occupies certain offices. If we can’t guarantee decent elections, then we have no business being around. Edo State election was good, and I expect Ondo State election to be better.”
On anti-corruption cases before courts, the President said he believed cleansing currently going on would lead to a better judiciary, adding that those found guilty would face wrath of the law.
“The cleansing currently going on would lead to a better judiciary. When people are sentenced, Nigerians will believe that we are serious.” The president submitted.
President Buhari equally informed his guests that the progress being made in agriculture and exploitation of solid minerals gives a lot of hope.
“Our grains go up to Central African Republic, to Burkina Faso, but they can’t buy all the grains harvested this year. And next season should be even better. We will focus on other products like cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, along with the grains. We can start exporting rice in 18 months, and we are getting fertilizers and pesticides in readiness for next year.” Buhari said.
Speaking on behalf of members of GSG, Nwajiuba said the government had succeeded to a large extent on security and anti-corruption fronts, adding that the group was positive that the economy would soon experience a turnaround,
The group said the biggest constituency of the President was the poor and lowly, and thus recommended what it calls a social re-armament of the poor.
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