Bagudu backs NASS for Increasing 2024 Budget, says action is legal

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The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu, has said that the National Assembly’s recent adjustments to the 2024 budget were within legal bounds, noting a longstanding practice that dates back to 1999 where such modifications are made to cater to specific projects within lawmakers’ constituencies.

Addressing reporters in Abuja on Thursday, Bagudu noted that it is customary for the approved budget to undergo alterations, often resulting in a budget larger than the initial proposal put forth by the president.

The Senate came under scrutiny after suspended Bauchi Central lawmaker Abdul Ningi alleged a lack of project allocation for N3.7 trillion in the budget during a recent BBC Hausa Service interview.

Responding to the controversy, Bagudu highlighted the historical debate over the appropriation powers of the executive and legislature, noting that despite past legal battles, the issue remains unresolved, leaving the National Assembly with ultimate authority over budgetary matters.

He further defended the Assembly’s right to augment budget lines, citing the absence of a Supreme Court ruling on the matter. Speaking further, the minister clarified the rationale behind the non-disclosure of budget line items for agencies classified as statutory transfers, emphasizing their independent budgetary authority which is governed by constitutional or legislative mandates.

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