Buhari writes National Assembly, to present 2018 budget Tuesday
President Muhammadu Buhari has notified the National Assembly of his intention to present the 2018 Appropriation Bill to the legislature on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
Buhari’s letter to the Assembly was read by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, during plenary on Thursday.
The President said he will present the budget at a joint session to the two chambers by 2p.m.
Recall that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun and Budget and National Planning Minister, Udoma Udo Udoma had at different fora assured that next year’s appropriation bill would be submitted to the National Assembly in October, to bring back the January-December financial year.
President Buhari is seeking to avoid the delays that have plagued previous budgets, not passed until well into the years they targeted.
However, the budget presentation comes a week behind schedule.
It is, however, the fastest period within which the national budget has been presented to the National Assembly in the present administration.
For instance, the budget for 2016 was presented to the National Assembly on December 21, 2015, as against December 14, 2016 for the 2017 budget.
The two legislative chambers are yet to approve the 2018 to 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
Also, the National Assembly is yet to approve the N135.6 billion virement, $5.5 billion foreign loan as well as the 2017 statutory budgets of over 20 Federal Government agencies before it, thereby raising concerns about the 2018 budget being approved by December 31st, 2017.
Nigeria, with Africa’s largest economy, is seeking to spend heavily to promote growth. The country only just climbed out of its first recession in 25 years in the second quarter of 2017, but still grew at a subdued 0.55 percent pace in the second quarter of 2017.
Although the President did not disclose details of the budget, the government last month published a document that said the budget would be a record N8.6 trillion ($27.3 billion) in 2018, up 15.5 percent from this year.
Once Buhari has presented the 2018 budget to lawmakers, it must still be approved by the lower and upper chambers of parliament before it can be signed into law, a process that can take many months.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja
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