Indications emerged on Monday that the 2018 budget recently passed by the National Assembly may spend more time within the presidency.
This follows a decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to carry out a thorough review of the budget, especially how the budget figures were shored up to N9.1 trillion by the lawmakers.
Daily Independent Newspaper is reporting that Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, gave the indications at the Presidential Villa after he met with President Buhari regarding the appropriations bill.
Buhari had on Nov 7, 2017 presented the N8.6trillion tagged “Budget of Consolidation”, to a joint session of the National Assembly.
Pressed further on when the budget will be eventually signed, Udoma said, “the President is currently reviewing it and as soon as he is through, he will sign it. That is what l can tell you for now,” he said.
Prior to the passage of the budget in May last month, it had spent six months delay undergoing review by the National Assembly.
It was finally passed as N9.120 trillion with a fiscal deficit of N1.955 trillion or 1.73 percent to GDP.
The amount represents an increase of N580 billion above the N8.612 trillion proposal submitted by the President to the joint session of the National Assembly on the 7th November, 2017.
The 2018 appropriation bill, the largest in the nation’s history, was premised on key revenue assumptions of oil price benchmark of $51 (an increase of $6 above the $45 proposed by the Presidency); but retains 2.3 million barrels per day and exchange rate of N305/$1USD.
These sectors got the highest capital allocation of N1.090 trillion out of total sum of N2.873 trillion in the 2018 budget.
While concerns mounted over the seeming delays in passage of the budget, the National Assembly leadership had heaped the blame on the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government which refused to defend their budget.
The development prompted the Federal Government to direct all Agencies, Corporations and Government owned Companies to submit details of their 2018 budget estimate to the appropriate Committees of the National Assembly not later than Friday, March 23.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha had also ordered the agencies to comply with the provisions of the law and honour invitation to defend their estimates.
“It has come to the attention of Government that a number of Agencies, Corporations and Government owned Companies have not fully complied with the provisions of Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.
“Agencies are reminded that the FRA 2007 provides that consequent upon laying of summary of budget estimates of Agencies listed in the schedule to FRA alongside the National Budget by Mr. President, it is required that details of such budgets be made available to the National Assembly for consideration and passage,” Mustapha had stated.
Although in the sixth month of 2018, the Federal Government has been carrying out its programmes using the 2017 budget estimates.