News - North Central - FCT Updated: March 15, 2024

Budget padding allegation: Bagudu defends Akpabio

By Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi
March 15, 2024

Atiku Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, has stated that neither Senate President Godswill Akpabio nor the National Assembly infringed any laws with the insertions in the 2024 budget.

Allnews.ng had reported that Akpabio has been at the centre of a controversy over charges that the Senate bloated the approved budget by N3.7 trillion, with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanding his resignation.

Senator Abdul Ningi of Bauchi Central, who originally raised the alarm about budget padding, was suspended for three months by the Senate.

However, Bagudu, speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, stated that budget padding has become the norm since 1999, emphasising that the National Assembly inserts new line items to provide dedicated projects to their constituencies, which frequently results in an increase in approved budget from what was presented by the president.

Bagudu said that the additional insertions did not break any laws because what the president gave to the National parliament was a bill, whereas the budget enacted with revisions was an act of the parliament.


He said, “The president submitted a budget to the tune of N27.5 trillion and the National Assembly, in its wisdom, increased it to N28.7 trillion.

“When we presented the budget, it was at an exchange rate of N750 to a dollar but the assembly increased it to N800 to a dollar. That created more revenue. The assembly also appropriated that the government-owned enterprises contribute more revenue. Then there was the increase of the budget of the judiciary, legislature and executive.

“The President, in signing the 2024 appropriation, acknowledged that in democracy, institutions have their power and the National Assembly has the last word.

“The evolution of constituency projects and projects by National Assembly members, which did not begin now but since 1999, is a reflection of the challenge that elected persons are facing.

“There has been a long debate and a former president went up to the Supreme Court to define the appropriation power of the executive and the National Assembly. Later, there was an out-of-court settlement. Till now, this issue has not been resolved.


“So, what is the power of the National Assembly as regards the budget? There is no Supreme Court judgment and the choice of our democracy is that the National Assembly has the last word. Even when they pass an appropriation that assent is refused, after 30 days it becomes law.

“Do they have the right to increase a budget line? I will say yes.”

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Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi

Rasheed is a Prolific Content Writer who also has a niche in all Genres of Literature, Academic Pape...

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