By Ovasa Ogaga,


President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, signed the 2018 budget into law, however berated the National Assembly for mutilating and rewriting the budget proposals for 2018 as proposed by the Executive last November.

Buhari-Signs-2018-Budget

President Buhari also criticized the National Assembly for reducing allocations for some projects and including thousands of projects into the budget without consultation with the Executive.

In a brazen usurpation of executive powers, the National Assembly slashed N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to it for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of its own amounting to N578 billion, President Buhari said.

“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.

“Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualised, designed and cost and will, therefore, be difficult to execute.”

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According to the President, not only did it take the lawmakers longer than expected to pass the budget, the final outcome was not what was expected.

“When I submitted the 2018 Budget proposals to the National Assembly on 7th November 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,” he said.

Regardless of the setback, the President is determined to continue working with the National Assembly to improve the budgeting process and restoring Nigeria to the January-December fiscal cycle.

This, he explained, is because although the Federal Government’s budget represents less than 10 per cent of aggregate yearly expenditures in the economy, it has a very significant accelerator effect on the financial plans of other tiers of government, and even more importantly, the private sector, which mostly operates on a January-December financial year.

Among them are the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project. President Buhari said the National Assembly slashed funding to them by an aggregate of N11.5 billion.

“Similarly, provisions for some ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the FCT, Abuja especially major arterial roads and the mass transit rail project, were cut by a total of N7.5 billion.

“The provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was cut by N3.9 billion from N4 billion to N100 million. He said the cutting will make it impossible for the Federal Government of Nigeria to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on this project.

Also affected are the provisions for various Strategic Interventions in the health sector such as the upgrade of some tertiary health institutions, transport and storage of vaccines through the cold chain supply system, provision of anti-retroviral drugs for persons on treatment, establishment of chemotherapy centres and procurement of dialysis consumables were cut by an aggregate amount of N7.45 billion.

Another is the planned security infrastructure for the 104 Unity Schools across the country. The National Assembly cut the budget by N3 billion at a time when securing our students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.

The National Assembly reduced the provision for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme by N8.7 billion. It also slashed the funding for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment by N5billion, at a time when government is working with Labour to address compensation-related issues.

Also cut by N14.5billion were the provision for Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Special Economic Zones/Industrial Parks, which are key industrialisation initiatives of this Administration.

The National Assembly reduced the funding for the completion of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport  from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira,  an action the President noted, would  further delay the completion of this critical project.

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Slashed also was the take-off grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government. It was cut from N5 billion to N3.4 billion.

The president noted that some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualised, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute”.

” About seventy (70) new road projects have been inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.  In doing so, the National Assembly applied some of the additional funds expected from the upward review of the oil price benchmark to the Ministry’s vote.  Regrettably, however, in order to make provision for some of the new roads, the amounts allocated to some strategic major roads have been cut by the National Assembly.

“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

” As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.

“Another area of concern is the increase by the National Assembly of the provisions for Statutory Transfers by an aggregate of N73.96 billion.  Most of these increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time we are trying to keep down the cost of governance.

“An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by N14.5 billion, from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the Executive”.

By Ovasa Ogaga,

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, signed the 2018 budget into law, however berated the National Assembly for mutilating and rewriting the budget proposals for 2018 as proposed by the Executive last November.

President Buhari also criticized the National Assembly for reducing allocations for some projects and including thousands of projects into the budget without consultation with the Executive.

In a brazen usurpation of executive powers, the National Assembly slashed N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to it for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of its own amounting to N578 billion, President Buhari said.

“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.

“Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualised, designed and cost and will, therefore, be difficult to execute.”

According to the President, not only did it take the lawmakers longer than expected to pass the budget, the final outcome was not what was expected.

“When I submitted the 2018 Budget proposals to the National Assembly on 7th November 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,” he said.

Regardless of the setback, the President is determined to continue working with the National Assembly to improve the budgeting process and restoring Nigeria to the January-December fiscal cycle.

This, he explained, is because although the Federal Government’s budget represents less than 10 per cent of aggregate yearly expenditures in the economy, it has a very significant accelerator effect on the financial plans of other tiers of government, and even more importantly, the private sector, which mostly operates on a January-December financial year.

Among them are the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project. President Buhari said the National Assembly slashed funding to them by an aggregate of N11.5 billion.

“Similarly, provisions for some ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the FCT, Abuja especially major arterial roads and the mass transit rail project, were cut by a total of N7.5 billion.

“The provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was cut by N3.9 billion from N4 billion to N100 million. He said the cutting will make it impossible for the Federal Government of Nigeria to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on this project.

Also affected are the provisions for various Strategic Interventions in the health sector such as the upgrade of some tertiary health institutions, transport and storage of vaccines through the cold chain supply system, provision of anti-retroviral drugs for persons on treatment, establishment of chemotherapy centres and procurement of dialysis consumables were cut by an aggregate amount of N7.45 billion.

Another is the planned security infrastructure for the 104 Unity Schools across the country. The National Assembly cut the budget by N3 billion at a time when securing our students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.

The National Assembly reduced the provision for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme by N8.7 billion. It also slashed the funding for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment by N5billion, at a time when government is working with Labour to address compensation-related issues.

Also cut by N14.5billion were the provision for Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Special Economic Zones/Industrial Parks, which are key industrialisation initiatives of this Administration.

The National Assembly reduced the funding for the completion of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport  from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira,  an action the President noted, would  further delay the completion of this critical project.

Slashed also was the take-off grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government. It was cut from N5 billion to N3.4 billion.

The president noted that some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualised, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute”.

” About seventy (70) new road projects have been inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.  In doing so, the National Assembly applied some of the additional funds expected from the upward review of the oil price benchmark to the Ministry’s vote.  Regrettably, however, in order to make provision for some of the new roads, the amounts allocated to some strategic major roads have been cut by the National Assembly.

“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

” As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.

“Another area of concern is the increase by the National Assembly of the provisions for Statutory Transfers by an aggregate of N73.96 billion.  Most of these increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time we are trying to keep down the cost of governance.

“An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by N14.5 billion, from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the Executive”.

(NAN)

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