By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Presidency Tuesday explained that the delay in the signing of the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari was because the President was scrutinizing the passed document by the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Recall that the National Assembly recently passed the N9.1 trillion 2018 Budget after the Conference Committee of the two chambers had harmonised their positions.
The presidency had sent a budget proposal of N8.6 trillion to the National Assembly but after a long delay, the legislature passed N9.1 trillion.
But the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (senate), Senator Ita Enang recently told Vanguard that jerking the budget size to N9.1 trillion was agreed by the executive and the legislature in view of present economic realities.
It was expected that the President would not delay pending his assent on the passed Appropriation Bill,but the President seems not to be in a hurry to do that.
The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, explained that the delay by President Buhari to sign the Appropriation Bill into law was because the President wants to carry out a thorough review of the passed document by the National Assembly.
The Minister who made the explanation at the Presidential Villa after meeting with President Buhari on Monday said, “The President is currently reviewing the budget and as you know, we have a minimum window of 30 days”
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.”
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.
Sectors regarded as critical namely: Power, Works and Housing, Defence as well as Transportation got the highest capital allocation of N1.090 trillion out of total sum of N2.873 trillion in the 2018 budget.