Cabinet members on Wednesday received an advanced copy of the 2017 appropriation for harmonization by the different ministers.
This was disclosed by the minister of Information and culture, Lai Mohammed while briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
According to Mohammed the minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma informed the council that he had received the advanced copy of the budget and will be transmitting it to the ministers after the meeting. The ministers are expected to go through their copies and revert.
“The minister of budget and planning informed the council that the budget has been passed. He has not sent it to us individually the copies of the budget passed.
“We will now need to look at it against what we sent and if there are any discrepancies, and report back for harmonization,” the Information minister said.
Asked if that meant the budget the budget which was approved by the National Assembly last week has finally been submitted to the executive the minister said “Not yet but at least the minister of budget and national planning has gotten an advanced copy of what was passed and that is what we need to look at and compare to what we sent. It has not been transmitted officially to the presidency”.
Meanwhile, there are indications of uncertainty over who will sign the 2017 budget when it is finally ready.
Briefing journalists after the weekly cabinet chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, the information minister was asked who will sign the budget when it is officially presented to the Presidency, seeing that President Muhammadu Buhari is currently away attending to his health, he replied that it will be decided at the appropriate time.
“When it is transmitted to the Presidency that decision will be taken” said Lai Mohammed who briefed alongside the Ministers of FCT Adamu Bello, Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu and health, Isaac Adewale.
BusinessDay gathered that Osinbajo on Wednesday held another meeting with the Budget Funding committee, a subcommittee in the Economic Management Team, for further planning ahead of the final assent.
The Senate and House of Representatives had on Thursday, 11th May 2017 approved the sum of N7.441 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year. The 2017 budget showed a 2.18 percent deficit of N2,356,773,720,940; oil production pegged at 2.2mbpd and $44.5 crude oil benchmark and N305/$1 exchange rate.
There are also indications that some ministers are unhappy about the outcome of their budget. BusinessDay gathered that the budgets of some of the ministries were hugely slashed. It is expected that official revelations will be made when the different ministers go through their budgets.
Despite denials by the National Assembly that the 2017 spending plan which was approved by the National Assembly last week was not padded, Aso Rock officials believe that the Acting President will not take anything for granted. “He will go through the budget like he and the President did last year before he signs it” an official told BusinessDay on Tuesday.
There are also issues of constituency projects pending between the executive and the legislature as President Buhari had insisted on not accommodating the constituency projects in the 2017 budget.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has set up an Ebola Preparedness Working Group to step up preparedness in our borders to identify probable cases.
The alert team will also respond to probable Ebola cases following its outbreak in the democratic republic of Congo.
Adewole explained that the country’s standby team which comprises 10 frontline health care workers would be moving to locations where they are needed with the team currently financed by the health ministry until there is the need for further funding.
Stating that new cases of meningitis dropped in the 19th week since the outbreak, Adewole said there is still a challenge in the treatment of those infected especially in diagnosis.
Council also approved the augmentation of the Kashibilla dam project with 46.15 billion naira and another 2.6 billion naira infrastructure contracts for Karu, a satellite town in Abuja.
Water Resources Minister said 24 billion naira has so far been expended on the project which will create a buffer against flooding along the River Benue. He said the floods have been recurring over the years with many devastation in 2012 following dams controlled by Cameroun along the waterways.
According to him, the multipurpose dam which is currently 90 percent completed will provide 40 megawatts of electricity and house a complete water treatment plant
Speaking about the Federal Capital Territory projects, Mohammed Bello said the infrastructure contracts includes extension and rehabilitation of roads in Karu phase II development in Abuja.