ABUJA – After six months of watch and pray, the 2018 Appropriation Bill has finally been laid on the desk of the Senate of the Federal Republic and the House of Representatives respectively.
While the House of Reps announced their Appropriation committee’s recommendation of N9,120,334,988,225 the Senate did not announce theirs.
The Reps’ committee figure is N508 billion above the N8.612 trillion package earlier presented to a joint sitting of the two houses in November 7, 2017, by President Mohammadu Buhari.
According to the document laid yesterday, N530,421,368,624 was proposed for statutory transfer; N2,869,600,351,825 for development fund for capital expenditure; N3,516,477,902,077 for recurrent (non debt) expenditure while N2,203,835,365,699 is for debt service; and N199b for sinking fund for maturing loans.
The Budget is likely to be passed this week, since the life span of the N7.444 trillion 2017 fiscal year expires this month ending, May 31, 2018.
The 2018 Budget has been on the front burner in recent times as many people have blamed the National for purposely delaying the budget as using it as a tool against the Executive.
However, the National Assembly had maintained that the delays were due to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) who have failed to submit their details within the stipulated time.
The federal legislators also accused the MDAs of failure to meet with the relevant committees of the Assembly to defend their budgets.
Conversely, the MDAs accused the NASS of demanding bribes as precondition for passing the budget.
The President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Sen. Bukola Saraki had assured that the Budget would be treated with the uttermost urgency which it deserves.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, had on April 12, mandated the Appropriation Committee to tidy up reports on the budget latest by April 13, but the date did not materialised.
President Buhari had described the 2018 fiscal document as “Budget of Consolidation”, which projected expenditure would drive rapid economic recovery.
He said at the session that with a benchmark of 45 dollars 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.