Why Signing Of 2017 Budget Was Delayed – Osinbajo
The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, said the delay in the signing of the 2017 Appropriation Bill was due to disagreements between the executive and the National Assembly.
He said this at the Presidential Villa after signing the budget, one month after it was passed by the National Assembly.
Professor Osinbajo, who said the process of preparing and passing the budget for 2017 was smoother than it was in 2016 with less wrangling between the executive and legislature, however, said changes made by the lawmakers proved contentious.
“The final presentation and the signing of the budget has been considerably delayed. This was largely due to disagreements we had about the changes introduced to our 2017 Budget proposals by the National Assembly,” he said.
“The Executive took the view that the changes fundamentally affected some of our priority programmes and would make implementation extremely difficult and in some cases impossible.”
He, however, said the disagreements were resolved and the leadership of the National Assembly promised to reinstate budgetary allocations for important executive projects.
These projects, according to him, include the railway standard gauge projects, the Mambilla Power Project, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway etc. which they had reduced to fund some of the new projects they introduced.
He added that the budgetary allocations would be reinstated by way of an application for virement by the Executive.
“It is as a result of that understanding and the outcome of our detailed engagements that we feel able to sign the 2017 Appropriations Bill into law today,” he said.
Acting President Osinbajo also the executive and the leadership of the National Assembly agreed to ensure the passage of the budget earlier to ensure a predictable January to December fiscal year.
He said the move was important because it would align the government’s financial year with that of most private sector companies and strengthen the relationship between government and the private sector.
He added, “On the understanding that we will be submitting the 2018 Budget to the National Assembly by October 2017, the leadership of the National Assembly has committed to working towards the passage of the 2018 Budget into law before the end of 2017.”
The Acting President, who thanked the leadership and members of the National Assembly for their “collaborative spirit”, assured Nigerians that the budget “is designed to bring the Nigerian economy out of recession onto a path of sustainable and inclusive growth”.