President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, signed the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N9.12 trillion into law, after berating the National Assembly for allegedly cutting the budget in key sectors of the economy.
Buhari, who signed the law in the absence of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara said the Executive would soon submit a supplementary budget to the lawmakers.
The budget was assented to by the President at exactly 12.05 noon at the mini-conference room of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
While signing the budget, the president said he was compelled to sign the budget not to keep the economy continues on standstill.
He berated the National Assembly for cutting the budget estimates, especially in key sectors which he said would have impacted more on the economy.
He also indicated the interest to forward a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to make up the figures that were cut by the lawmakers.
In his budget signing speech, the president said he had hoped that the legislative process on the budget would be quick.
“When I submitted the 2018 budget proposals to the national assembly on Nov. 7, 2017, I had hoped that the usual legislative review process would be quick, so as to move Nigeria towards a predictable January-December financial year.
“I am however concerned about some of the changes national assembly has made to the budget proposals I presented.
“The logic behind the constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the executive is that it is the executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.
“Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me.
“Notwithstanding the delay this year, I am determined to continue to work with the national assembly towards improving the budgeting process and restoring our country to the January-December fiscal cycle.
“I note, with pleasure, that the national assembly is working on the enactment of an organic budget law, so as to improve the efficiency of the nation’s budgetary process.
“As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2018 appropriation bill, we intend to use the 2018 budget to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020,” Buhari said.
The Renaissance recalls that copies of the passed budget were sent to the Presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Senate Matters, Ita Enang, on May 25.
The two chambers of the Assembly passed the budget estimates earlier on May 16, raising the budget figure by N500 billion, six months after it was presented by Buhari.