Nigeria Senator Says Work on 2017 Budget Stalled by Police Raid

LAGOS (Capital Markets in Africa) – A Nigerian lawmaker said work on passing the overdue 2017 budget stalled after police raided his house last week and took away key papers. The police denied confiscating any budget-related document.

“The police truncated work on the 2017 budget by the invasion of my house,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Danjuma Goje told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Abuja. “I don’t know if the police are now working on the budget.”

The committee is tasked with making recommendations on President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget to the Senate, which then decides whether to accept it. Lawmakers are yet to approve the spending plan after Buharipresented it to them on Dec. 14. Though the 2016 budget was only signed into law on May 6 last year, lawmakers initially said they hoped to approve the current one by the end of March.

None of the 38 documents seized by the police were related to the budget, police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said in a live interview with Channels Television, Thursday. The police investigation “has nothing to do with the 2017 budget,” Moshood said. Goje will be arrested if he doesn’t honor a police invitation to be questioned about other items, including foreign-currency cash, found in his house, Moshood said.

Calls to Goje’s phone didn’t connect when Bloomberg sought comment.

Buhari has proposed spending a record 7.3 trillion naira ($23 billion) to help revive an economy that shrank last year for the first time since 1991 amid plummeting oil revenue and dollar shortages.

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