• As Senate receives reports
Fred Itua, Abuja
More than seven months after President Muhammadu Buhari submitted the 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly, all seemed set for its passage.
However, as it was laid before the House of Representatives yesterday, report of the Appropriation Committee indicated that the total sum has been raised to N9.1trilion from the N8.6 trillion proposed by the executive, an increase of about N500 billion.
Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, who presided said the House would begin the consideration of the report of the Appropriation Committee on the 2018 budget today and possibly pass the budget at today’s plenary.
He directed lawmakers to pick copies of the budget from the Appropriation Committee by 8am today, noting that, “in the afternoon, we will convene to consider the budget and pass it.”
However, Lasun added that if the House could not finish the consideration of the report today, it will continue with it on the next legislative day.
A breakdown of the budget reveals that N530,421,368,624 is for statutory transfers; N2,203,835,365,699 for debt service out of which N190,000,000,000 is for sinking fund for maturing loans.
Also, the sum of N3,516,477,902,077 is earmarked for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while N2,869,600,351,825 is contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure.
The amount is exclusive of capital expenditure, captured in statutory transfers.
Similarly, at the Senate, the committee chairman on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, also submitted its report on the budget, raising hope that it would be considered and passed this week.
This is coming months after the National Assembly and heads of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), squared off over alleged budget padding.
Officials of the two arms also accused themselves of frustrating efforts to pass the budget on record time.
In March, the leadership of the National Assembly met with President Buhari, where they accused ministers of failing to appear before the various committees to defend the budgets of MDAs under their purview.
Following the meeting, President Buhari mandated his ministers to avail themselves before the various committees and defend their budget estimates.
Last month, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, told his colleagues that the budget would be passed on April 24. But it failed to pass the budget.
A fortnight ago, Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, told State House correspondents that the budget would be passed last week. But also failed to lay and consider the budget.
As at last week, some heads of MDAs were yet to appear before some committees to defend their budgets.