President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2018 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly on Tuesday, an authoritative presidency source told THISDAY wednesday.
The bill, which is expected to be approved today by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), according to the source, is heading to the legislature early to give legislators ample time to deliberate on and pass in good time for its implementation to begin on January 1, 2018.
“Arrangements have been made for President Buhari to lay the budget on Tuesday,” he said, adding: “It is our hope that the National Assembly would expedite action on it and get it ready for presidential assent by December 2017.”
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, is to present the estimates for approval today as the federal government had yesterday shifted the weekly FEC meeting to today explaining that today’s meeting would be dedicated to the examination of the 2018 budget as proposed by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government and compiled by the budget ministry.
The presidency had yesterday on its Twitter handle, @NGRPresident, tweeted the shift of the FEC meeting to today and explained that the sole agenda would be 2018 Budget.
“Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting will hold tomorrow (today), Thursday, October 26. Agenda is #Budget 2018, which is currently being finalised,” the tweet read.
The tweet was later followed by another one by the Government of Nigeria on its Twitter handle, @AsoRock, in which the federal government said it was keeping faith with its plan to ensure the passage of the 2018 budget before the end of the year with a view to returning the country to January – December budget cycle.
“We’re on course with plans to have #Budget2018 passed into law before the end of 2017, and restore the budget calendar to Jan—Dec,” the government tweeted.
On August 10, this year, Udoma had told State House correspondents during a retreat on the implementation of the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with the theme: “Building Synergy For Effective ERGP Implementation,” that the government would leave no stone unturned to ensure the presentation of the budget before the National Assembly in October to pave the way for its passage before the new year.
He also said the government would transmit the 2018 – 2020 Medium Term Expenditure (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the National Assembly ahead of their resumption from vacation then.
He said: “The National Assembly is on break. So, nearer the time they will resume in September, they will get the MTEF. Ours is to follow the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which has some timelines and we are trying to keep strictly to those timelines.
“So, the budget will get to the National Assembly by October. That was our commitment. We will go all out to make that happen. We made a commitment that we will do that on our part and we intend to deliver on that commitment. This is a government that delivers on its promises,” he said.
But the government failed to keep its promise to submit the budget “nearer the time” of the resumption of the National Assembly as the legislative institution which resumed from its annual recess on September 26, did not receive the MTEF and FSP until October 17
Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja