The National Assembly has concluded plans to pass the harmonized Appropriation bill of N9.120 trillion for 2018 fiscal year.
The amount represents an increase of N508 billion over the N8.612 trillion submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint session of the National Assembly on the 7th November, 2017.
A breakdown of the proposal shows that the sum of N530,421,368,624 is for Statutory Transfer; N2,203,835,365,699 for Debt Service; N199 billion for Sinking Fund for maturing loans; N3,516,477,902,077 for Recurrent (non debt) Expenditure, while N2,869,600,351,825 for development fund for Capital Expenditure.
Yussuff Lasun, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who presided over the plenary session mandated all the lawmakers to collect copies of the budget preparatory for passages.
“Members should pick up copies of the budget tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and we will pass the budget later in the afternoon. If we are not able to finish, we will continue on Thursday,” he said.
Lasun stressed that they would have to pass the budget before adjourning on Thursday to enable members participate in the forthcoming Congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The budget report was laid during Tuesday plenary by Danjuma Goje, chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation and Mustapha Dawaki, chairman, House Committee on Appropriation on the floor of both chambers.
However, Senate President Bukola Saraki attributed the delay in approving the money bill to failure of heads of ministries, departments and agencies to defend the budget before their respective committees.
The 2018 budget is the most delayed since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, with May 15, 2018 marking 190 days from November 7, 2017 when President Buhari presented it.
A member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, had last week assured that both legislative chambers would pass harmonised budget this week.
“The good thing is that it is a joint work between the House and the Senate. So, whatever is laid in the Senate would be exactly the same thing that will be laid in the House of Representatives. And we are going to consider it the same day,” the lawmaker who doubles as Senate spokesperson, said while addressing journalists last week.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA & OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja