By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday formally received the 2017 budget passed by the National Assembly last week.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Mr. Ita Enang in a closed door session presented the document to Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The budget first presented in December 2016 before the two chambers of the national assembly by the President had an estimate of N7.28 trillion but was raised to N7.44 trillion by the federal lawmakers.
Details of the budget showed that N434.4 billion was appropriated for statutory transfers to the National Judicial Council (N100 billion); Niger Delta Development Commission (N64.02 billion); Universal Basic Education (N95.2 billion); National Assembly (N125 billion); Public Complaints Commission (N4 billion); INEC (N45 billion); and National Human Rights Commission (N1.2 billion).
In a tweet, the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande said that the Appropriation Bill would be subjected to consideration.
“2017 Budget-Appropraitions Bill now officially received in the Acting President’s office & undergoing very prompt and diligent considerations”, he tweeted.
Speaking to State House correspondents delivering the bill, Ita Enang gave indications that a presidential assent was possible within two or three days if the standard operation processes are completed instead of waiting for the statutory 30 days.
“The budget as passed by the National Assembly has just been transmitted to the Acting President. I just delivered it. Let me use this opportunity to clarify an issue. The Acting President has the power to assent to the budget and he will assent to it when the processes are completed.
“The Acting President has the power to assent to the budget. In February, he assented to 7 or 8 bills. Those that he didn’t agree with, he wrote the Senate and House of Representatives that he had withheld his assent from them. He has the power of the president to assent to it.
“But the assent to the Appropriation Bill will be after the completion of the standard operation process. The bill has 30 days within which it will be assented to but the process can be completed within two or three days.
“So, it is not possible to say it will be assented to in so, so and so day or in two or three days. It’s upon the completion of the process that it will be assented to by the president and the president here now is the acting president”, Enang said.