NASS Hikes 2018 Budget By N508bn

The National Assembly has jacked up the 2018 budget from the N8.612trillion figure presented by President Muhammadu Buhari last November to N9,120,334,988,225.
This represents a whooping N508billion difference, which the lawmakers have inserted into the appropriation bill.
The new figure is embedded in the report of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Appropriation presented before the Assembly, yesterday.
A breakdown of the budget indicates that N530.4billion is for statutory transfer, N2.20trillion for debt service and N199billion for sinking fund for maturing loans.
Also, N3.51trillion is allocated to recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while N2.87trillion is earmarked for development fund for capital expenditure.
The National Assembly is expected to pass the budget this month, over six months since it was presented to the Assembly by Buhari.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, yesterday, said the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N9.12 trillion would be passed, today.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Yussuff Lasun, who presided at plenary, made this known after the budget report was presented by the Chairman, Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Mustapha Dawaki.
The N9.12trillion budget is N410 billion higher than N8.61trillion appropriated in 2017.
Lasun advised members to pick copies of the budget from the appropriation committee as the House was likely to pass the budget, today.
At the Senate, the report of the Committee on Appropriations was laid by the Chairman, Senator Danjuma Goje, APC, Gombe Central.
The presentation of the report was seconded by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, PDP, Edo South.
The Senate had on several occasions accused Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of not keeping to appointments with the various standing committees to defend their budgets.
The delay had prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to issue a deadline to heads of all MDAs to defend their budgets unfailingly.
Subsequently, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, on April 12, mandated the Appropriation Committee to tidy up reports on the budget latest by April 13.
With this development, the January to December budget cycle would not be obtainable with the 2018 budget.
Buhari had on November 7, 2017 presented a budget of N8.6trillion before a joint session of the National Assembly.
The president, who announced the 2018 budget as “Budget of Consolidation”, said the projected expenditure would drive rapid economic recovery.
He said at the session that with a benchmark of $45 per barrel at an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar in 2018, the budget would consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets to aggressively steer the economy to the path of steady growth.
However, strong indications have emerged that the budget would be passed this week, just as moves to do that are largely believed by concerned Nigerians, to have arisen as a result of May 31, 2018, set as deadline for life span of the N7.444trillion 2017 budget.
The six months the 2018 budget estimates has spent in the National Assembly has been the longest period for consideration of an appropriation bill so far since year 2000 when a full-fledged yearly budget was first presented to it.
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