Jonathan meets NASS leaders over 2013 budget

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan smiles during a press conference at the South African Parliament in Cape Town, on May 7, 2013. The leaders of Africa's two biggest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, pledged closer ties on Tuesday in what was hailed as a milestone in a sometime patchy relationship. President Jacob Zuma rolled out a red carpet for his counterpart Goodluck Jonathan as ministers signed nine sectoral pacts covering oil and gas, power, defence and communication. AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH

From Sunday Ode, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan last night met with the leadership of the National Assembly in efforts to ensure the early passage of the 2013 budget.
The brief meeting was also expected to fine-tune issues relating to the supplementary budget and other fiscal issues.
The meeting, which started at about 7:00 pm at the First Lady’s conference chamber inside the Presidential Villa, had in attendance the Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director of Budget Office, Dr Bright Okogu among others.
Last week, the President held a similar closed door meeting with Mark and Tambuwal, the outcome of which was not made public.
Newsmen were not also briefed on the outcome of yesterday’s meeting which ended by 8:45pm.
Senate President David Mark said the meeting was inconclusive and would continue today.
A source at the State House however disclosed that the executive arm of government was engaging the legislators on the issue of the budget and other related matters in order to smoothen the rough edges with a view to early passage.
“As you know the Federal Government is committed to resolving the payment of outstanding fuel subsidy claims, for which it requires N100 billion. It also need to sort out the request by the state governors to withdraw one billion dollars from the excess crude account,” the source said.
“In order to meet all these demands and others the President needs to sit down with the legislators to find a middle course,” he added.

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