UPDATED: National Assembly Releases Details Of Its 2018 Budget

National Assembly Releases Details Of Its 2018 Budget

 

The National Assembly has released the details of its budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

The Office of the Senate President disclosed the details of the budget in a tweet on Friday.

It explained that the disclosure was in line with the commitment of the leadership of the 8th Assembly to accountability and transparency.

READ ALSOMilitary Kills 35 Bandits, Rescues 40 Hostages In Zamfara

The details were released following pressure from human rights activists and civil society groups in the country.

Of the N139.5 billion earmarked for the National Assembly, the Senate got a total of N35.58 billion while the House of Representatives had N57.4 billion.

The National Assembly Office got N15.38 billion just as the legislative aides and the NASS Service Commission had N10.20 billion and N2.73 billion respectively.

Similarly, the National Assembly Legislative Institute got N4.37 billion while N1.14 billion was earmarked for service-wide-vote of the legislature.

A total of N12.3 billion was earmarked for general services while the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Senate and the House got N118.97 million and N142.76 million respectively.

However, there were no figures affixed to the line items in the details of the 2018 budget released by the National Assembly.

See the breakdown of the figures below:

Budget: Reps Ask Buhari To Order Release Of Judiciary Funds

2018 Budget: Reps Ask Buhari To Order Release Of Judiciary Funds
A file photo of lawmakers during a plenary at the House of Representatives at the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, to release to the National Judicial Council all outstanding funds from the 2018 Appropriation Act due to the Federal Judiciary.

The lawmakers made the call during Tuesday’s plenary at the National Assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

They took the resolution while considering a motion sponsored by the Chairman of the House Committee on Federal Judiciary, Aminu Shagari.

The House was worried that not releasing the funds may disrupt the efficiency of the judicial arm of government in the country.

Earlier, Mr Shagari informed his colleagues that the action of the Federal Ministry of Finance in withholding the funds was against the Constitution.

He noted that Section 81(3) of the Constitution stated that the judiciary council would be on first line charge.

Namdas Blames Executive, MDAs  For Budget Delay

Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdulrasaq Namdas

 

The spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, has defended the National Assembly against criticism for the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget.

As far as he is concerned, the blame for the delay rests squarely with the Executive, especially Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

Namdas stated this in Abuja while appearing on Channels Television’s breakfast show ‘Sunrise’ on Saturday.

“In April, six months after the budget was brought, the executive was presenting certain provisions that we should accommodate in the 2018 budget,” he said.

“And if we had not accepted it, the story would be that we want to frustrate the (Federal) Government. We also decided to accept it in the spirit of working relationship. So we were still receiving submissions from the executive even five months after the budget was presented.”

Namda’s comments come three days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law.

Assenting to the bill on Wednesday, the President faulted the National Assembly for reducing allocations for some projects and including thousands of projects into the budget without consultation with the Executive.

But the lawmakers justified the changes made to the budget and criticised the Executive in a statement on Friday, with the Presidency firing back hours later.

The President had on November 7, 2017, submitted the 2018 budget proposal of  N8.612 trillion to the National Assembly for consideration and early passage.

However, the lawmaker increased the proposal by N508 billion, bringing the total figure to N9.12 trillion before passing it in May.

Namdas is surprised that the National Assembly is being blamed for the delay.

Pointing out that it was public knowledge that the heads of MDAs of failed to appear before the lawmakers to defend the budget estimates, he recalled that it took the intervention of President Buhari before they defended their estimates.

He added, “The budget came in November. Five months after the budget was presented, President Buhari directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to also direct Chief Executives of Ministries to appear before the committees of the National Assembly.

“When we cried out that the Chief Executives were not appearing, people thought that we were joking. Later the President saw the need. So if after five months, we have Chief Executives who have refused to appear before us, how would we have concluded with a budget as fast as people were expecting?”

Presidency Reacts To NASS Response On Changes Made To 2018 Budget

Presidency Reacts To NASS Response On Changes Made To 2018 Budget
President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018,

 

More reactions have continued to trail the signing of the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Assenting to the bill on Wednesday, the President had faulted the National Assembly for reducing allocations for some projects and including thousands of projects into the budget without consultation with the Executive.

READ ALSO: We Included New Projects To Correct Geopolitical Imbalance, NASS Replies Buhari

But the lawmakers justified the changes made to the budget in a statement on Friday, while the Presidency made further clarifications on the “distorted 2018 budget” hours later.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, insisted in a statement that the Executive, through the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, was in touch with the National Assembly throughout the budget consideration process.

According to him, the Executive was approached by the National Assembly who indicated that they intended to increase the benchmark price by $5 – from $45 to $50.

Adesina revealed that the National Assembly informed the Executive that they intended to utilise $2 out of the $5 increase – amounting to about N170 billion – for projects selected by themselves.

He added that the lawmakers asked the Executive to suggest important projects that could be accommodated with the funds arising from the balance of $3.

Buhari Signs 2018 Budget, Faults NASS Over Inclusion Of 6,403 Projects

The presidential aide noted that after some consideration, the Executive was of the view that an increase in the benchmark price of crude oil to $50 was not unrealistic.

He explained that this prompted the President to accept the proposal in the spirit of compromise required for a successful budget exercise.

The statement read, “The Executive had, in that spirit, suggested that from the additional funds arising out of the $3 increase, $1.25 from the increase should not be appropriated as expenditure, but utilised to reduce the deficit in the budget.”

“The Executive, therefore, restricted itself to submitting, for the consideration of the National Assembly, important items that could be funded from $1.75 of the $3 increase. NASS eventually raised the benchmark price to $51, apparently to accommodate the additional allocations to Health and NDDC.

“The Executive is, therefore, surprised that with an additional sum of N170 billion available for the National Assembly to spend on Constituency Projects, together with the sum of N100 billion, already provided for in the budget, that the National Assembly should feel it necessary to cut allocations to important national projects, and thereby distort the budget, in order to further increase their allocation for Constituency projects. How much is enough!” it added.

Adesina maintained that the President’s position was clear while delivering his speech when stated his concern about some of the changes made by the lawmakers.

Stressing his point, he quoted the President as saying, “About 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”.

NASS Replies Buhari, Defends Changes Made To 2018 Budget (FULL TEXT)

National Assembly Fixes April 24 To Pass 2018 Budget

The National Assembly has replied President Muhammadu Buhari’s criticism of the amendments made to the 2018 budget explaining why certain projects were injected into the budget.

In a 12-page statement titled, ‘The President’s Budget Speech: Our Response” and signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullah and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media & Public Affairs, Honourable Abdulrazak Namdas, the lawmakers defended their action

Read the full statement below…

 

The President’s Budget Speech: Our Response

We appreciate the fact that the 2018 Appropriations Law which was passed by the National Assembly on May 16th, 2018 was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018.

In his speech at the signing ceremony, certain observations were raised about the work of the National Assembly and its Constitutional responsibility to modify and amend the budget estimates submitted to it by the Executive.

You may recall that when the National Assembly passed the 2018 budget, it gave reasons why the budget was increased and why certain projects and programmes had to be provisioned for. However, due to recent developments, it is once again necessary to let Nigerians know the justification for our actions on the 2018 budget, which were based on our Constitutional responsibilities.

Adjustments and reductions in the locations, costs and number of projects approved were made in order to address geopolitical imbalances that came with the Executive proposal. The introduction of new projects was done to ensure the promotion of the principles of Federal Character as contained in Section 14, subsection (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which states that “the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria…” The number of projects had to be increased in order to give a sense of belonging to every geopolitical zone of the country to ensure socio-economic justice, equity, fairness, and to command National loyalty.

Within the context of the provisions of Sections 4, 80 and 81 of the Constitution, everything that the National Assembly has done is within its powers.

Furthermore, Chapter 2 of the Constitution emphasizes the need for balance, inclusivity, and equity in the distribution of national resources. The annual budget, which symbolizes the distribution of these resources must reflect the aforementioned values, which we swore to uphold.

These Constitutional provisions, in addition to a recent Court judgment, have affirmed the fact that the budget process is a ‘joint effort’ that must reflect the input of both the executive and the legislature — the latter being the closest representatives of the people. However, we are fully aware that the Executive has the exclusive responsibility to execute all parts of the Appropriation Act once it is signed into law.

It is our firm belief that if the President had been properly briefed by his appointees, he would not have raised most of the concerns that he did in his remarks at the budget signing. It is therefore inevitable for the legislature to give members of the public an insight into what transpired during the appropriations process and how we arrived at the decisions that are contained in the 2018 budget.

With the aforementioned background, let us respond to each of the issues raised.

On the issue of the period when the budget proposal was submitted and when it was passed by the National Assembly, it is necessary to remind Nigerians that although the budget was submitted in November, as at March 15th 2018 (5 months and 8 days after the budget submission), Mr President was still directing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to compel the Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government to appear before the committees of the National Assembly to defend their respective budget. In addition, up till April (6 months after the budget submission), the Executive was still bringing new additions to the 2018 budget which the National Assembly in good faith and in the spirit of collaboration and harmonious working relationship accepted.

More importantly, the 2017 budget, was signed into law on June 5th, 2017 and by the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution, which defines the Financial Year as “any period of 12 months beginning on the first day of January in any year, or other date as the National Assembly may prescribe” – the 2017 budget lapsed on the 5th of June 2018. This same provision is replicated in the 2017 Appropriation Act.

It is important to also note that if not for the fact that the 2017 budget elapsed on the 5th of June 2018, the Federal Government would not have recorded notable capital projects for the just-ended financial year. This is because the Federal Government only started releasing funds for capital projects in December 2017 when the funds from the Federal Government’s loans were released and disbursed to contractors.

On the issue of an Organic Budget Law to improve the budgetary process, the proposed law is pending in the National Assembly and cannot be considered without the amendment of Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which gives the President the power to propose “estimates” at any time in the financial year. Nigerians need to know that during the last Constitutional Review exercise, the National Assembly in its wisdom amended this provision and it was approved by over two-thirds of the State Houses of Assembly. The new Constitution Amendment requires the President to submit the budget not later than 90 days to the end of the financial year. As of today, the President has not yet signed this Constitutional Amendment Bill which would have helped us to have a proper budget calendar, which shall eventually lead to the realization of the proposed January to December budget cycle.

It was stated that the legislature made cuts amounting to N347 billion which were meant for 4,700 projects. Again, these reductions of N347 billion were made from low priority areas to higher priority areas to support the generation of employment for our youth by MSMEs. We took the decision to reduce the funds in some areas in order to ensure balance and equity in the spread and utilization of our national funds. Additionally, the figures given amounts of the reductions made by the National Assembly were unduly exaggerated as we did not make any substantial reduction on any project to the extent of affecting its implementation.

To give the exact detail of the projects where we made deductions, it should be noted that the counterpart funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/Ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Express Road and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project, was reduced by only N3,956,400,290 – which represents only 1.78 % of the total N222,569,335,924 submitted by President Buhari. This left these projects with N218,612,935,634 which cannot negatively affect their implementation. This obviously contradicts the claim that these projects lost “an aggregate of N11.5 billion”.

Specifically:
The counterpart Funding for 3050mw Mambilla Hydropower Project was reduced from N8.5billion to N8.2billion (a reduction of N300million);
The construction of the Second Niger bridge including access roads phases 2a and 2b in Anambra and Delta states and other projects in the South East were reduced from N10billion to N9.1billion (a reduction of N900million);
The construction of Bodo-Bonny road with a bridge across the Opobo channel in Rivers State was reduced from N10billion to N8.7billion (a reduction of N1.3billion);
The funding for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was reduced from N20billion to N18billion (a reduction of N2billion), which would not significantly affect the construction of the road in one appropriations cycle;
The Railway Projects (Counterpart Funds): 1. Lagos-Kano (ongoing) 2. Calabar-Lagos (Ongoing) 3. Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri) (Ongoing) 4. Port Harcourt- Maiduguri (New) 5. Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi in Niger Republic (New) 6. Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja (Warri)-Warri Port and Refinery including Warri new Harbour (New) 7. Bonny deep Sea Port & Port Harcourt of N162,284,335,924 was retained by the National Assembly as presented by Mr President; and
The National Assembly increased the aggregate funding for the East-West Road from N11,285,000,000 to N12,085,000,000 because we realized the strategic importance of the road to the entire oil producing areas of our country and the fact that the road project has lingered for too long;

Addressing the issue of the Second Niger Bridge project, apart from early works, as of today, there is no existing contract for the Second Niger Bridge in spite of frequent requests from the National Assembly. The N900million reduced from the N10billion proposed by the Executive was deployed to fund ancillary roads that connect to the Bridge. It should again be noted that the N12.5billion and the N7.5billion appropriated for the Second Niger Bridge in the 2016 and 2017 budget by the National Assembly were never utilized for the project.

We also need to call the attention of the public to the fact that the National Assembly allocated an additional N2billion to the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway project. This was more than the Executive proposed.

As part of the implementation of the 2017 budget, the contracts for 15 roads were awarded by the Federal Executive Council with no budgetary provisions. Realizing the importance of these projects, the National Assembly decided to spread the N3.9billion saved from the earlier mentioned projects funding to facilitate the take-off of these projects that include: the rehabilitation of Ikorodu-Shagamu road in Lagos State; the rehabilitation of 9th Mile-Orakam to Benue Border; and the general maintenance of Pankshin – Ballang – Nyelleng – Sararele – Gindiri road in Plateau State, etc. These are the projects purported to be “project inclusions without conceptualization.” On these projects, the National Assembly needs to be commended by Mr President for helping to support the take-off of these awarded but unfunded projects.

Furthermore, it was stated that the budget of the FCT was cut by N 7.5 billion. This is true. The legislators stand by this decision because, through its oversight of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the National Assembly discovered that in the 2016 and 2017 budget cycle, there was a severe non-performance of the budgetary allocations to the FCT. During the two years in question, over 50% of the funds that were allocated and released to the FCT were not utilised. These funds were ultimately returned to the treasury. Hence, in order to ensure that scarce resources were allocated in accordance to ‘needs over wants’, funding for the FCT which has historically been under-utilised were allocated to other MDAs that have demonstrated the capacity to implement their allocation for the development of the nation and its people. It was part of the allocation that we spread over the roads for which contracts were awarded with no budgetary allocation.

On the provisions for strategic interventions in the health sector which were said to be cut by an aggregate of N7.45billion, it is on record that for the first time since the National Health Act was enacted in 2014, the National Assembly made provision of an additional N55billion for funding primary healthcare through the Basic Primary Healthcare Fund which will be sourced from 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Thus, contrary to the claim that the health sector suffered any budgetary cuts, we actually provided more funds that will make access to health services possible for over 180 million Nigerians.

The presence of this provision for primary healthcare will help us to eliminate the prevalence of maternal, infant and child mortality as well as create a healthier population. With this increased funding, we will be able to ensure that all Nigerian children get the necessary immunization that keeps various diseases away from them and ensure that mothers are well-catered for during childbirth.

On the issue of the 104 Unity Schools across the nation and the claim that N3billion was cut from their funding, Nigerians need to know that after careful consultation by the committees of the National Assembly with stakeholders in the sector, the National Assembly actually provided an additional N3.7billion more for meal subsidies in these 104 Unity Schools.

Furthermore, it was claimed that the provision for Construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport was cut from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira and that this will further delay the completion of this critical project. However, for the avoidance of doubt, it is necessary to again clarify that during the budget defense and oversight processes, the National Assembly discovered that out of the N2billion contract for the Enugu Terminal Building, N1.7billion had already been paid to the contractor. And what is left to complete this project is justN300million. Hence, the National Assembly approved N500million for the project — which is even N200million more than was required. We refer Nigerians to a publication in THISDAY newspaper published in April and titled “Giving Enugu Airport a Facelift” and written by the newspaper’s Aviation correspondent, Chinedu Eze, where the Minister of State (Aviation), Mr Hadi Sirika was quoted as saying “We just last week released N1.7billion to the contractor and hopefully also, within the shortest possible time, we will release another N300million for him so that they can quickly finish the airport terminal. This will bring the airport to its desired standard.”

In the case of statutory transfers where the increase in the National Assembly’s budget was isolated, it is important to note that the increase in the oil price benchmark from the projected $45 to the actual price of $51 generated additional N523.65 billion for the Federal Government.

Thus, based on an agreement between the National Assembly and the Executive as represented by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the additional revenues were allocated among the three arms of government as follows:

The Executive’s proposal for the National Judicial Council was N100billion, however, the National Assembly appropriated N110billion which represents N10 billion increase;
The Executive’s proposal for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was N71,195,023,529, however, the National Assembly appropriated N81,882,555,891 — which represents a N10,687,532,363 increase;
An additional N33,981,437,188 was also appropriated for the outstanding liabilities to the NDDC by the Federal Government to enable the commission to settle some of its contractors that were owed over N1 trillion;
The National Assembly received an additional N14.5billion in funding;
In order to ensure that they are able to meet their mandate, the National Assembly increased the Public Complaint’s Commission’s budget from the N4,200,000,000 proposed by the President to N7,480,000,000 — which represents a N3,280,000,000 increase; and
Lastly, the National Human Rights Commission’s budget was increased from N1.5billion to N3,013,745,000, which represents a N1,513,745,000 increase.

It is therefore very clear that the three arms of government benefited from the increase which was mutually agreed on with the Ministry of Budget and Planning. In fact, we have correspondences addressed to the leadership of the National Assembly from Ministry of Budget making requests on how to spread the increment arising from the Benchmark differentials.

It should be noted that the budget of the National Assembly as at 2014 was N150billion, which is still N10.5billion more than our current figure despite increased national challenges that requires: frequent public hearings held on almost a daily basis at high costs; and intense oversight, which has become more thorough and incisive in order to check the Executive. The N139.5billion budget of the National Assembly represents less than 1.5percent of the entire N9trillion budget. Does it not make sense to use 1.5percent to protect the other 98.5percent?

The public should note that this increase in the legislature’s budget was also necessitated by the drastic inflation of the last four years; the need to rehabilitate the National Assembly’s deteriorating facilities, like the elevators which shut down almost weekly; spending hundreds of millions to procure diesel to constantly power the entire complex; and the need to immediately upgrade the security facilities of the complex. It is important to point out at this juncture that the collapse of the CCTV system facilitated the mace theft in April.

Finally, the following 24 additions, which were done to the 2018 Appropriations Bill, due to the increase in the benchmark price of oil were duly appropriated by the National Assembly after full consultations, and in many cases, requests by the Executive branch through the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

S/N     Project Name         Amount

1          Augmentation to unity schools meal subsidy in Education Sector           3,701,587,104

2          Outstanding liability on exchange rate differential for 2015 & 2016 Bea ongoing remittances to 12 Bea countries (scholarship)          3,265,720,064

3          Rehabilitation of block C, D, G & H at the Headquarters and Lagos state office of Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade & Investment   1,207,942,115

4          Construction of Kashimbilla/Gamovo multipurpose dam  2,000,000,000

5          Strengthening public health against LASSA fever/other outbreaks: procurement and installation of incinerators, procurement of personal protective equipment, ribavirin and laboratory reagents and training of health personnel, construction of isolation ward at university of Abuja teaching hospital, Gwagwalada 2,000,000,000

6          Fast Power Programme Accelerated Gas and Solar Power Generation 12,500,000,000

7          Expansion and reinforcement of infrastructure in  11 distribution companies to reduce stranded generation capacity     30,000,000,000

8          Alternative energy development fund 1,000,000,000

9          Completion of headquarters building (FMWA)         500,000,000

10       Construction of 3000 capacity maximum security prison in Abuja (Phase I)            6,031,862,972

11       Procurement of  3 x jf17 thunder aircraft       12,792,939,682

12       Security vote (including augmentation of  shortfall in operational funds) for Nigerian Navy  3,000,000,000

13       Department of state security – pensions (including arrears)         6,318,326,710

14       Contributions to international Organisations 11,000,000,000

15       Contingency 2,800,000,000

16       Military operation: Lafiya dole & other operations of the armed forces            3,000,000,000

17       Subscription to shares in international Organisations         11,000,000,000

18       SDG special projects 3      8,000,000,000

19       Contingency (capital)        2,000,000,000

20       Promotion, recruitment & appointment for police service commission            5,393,947,080

21       Additional provision to some security agencies        10,000,000,000

22       Additional provision of 82b naira on critical federal roads e.g. rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano 10b naira, rehabilitation of Lagos-Badagry-Seme road 4b naira, rehabilitation/dualisation of Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene-Aba-Owerri Road 7b     92,000,000,000

23       Additional 12b naira to new federal universities      12,000,000,000

24       National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS)        4,000,000,000

TOTAL           245,512,325,726

It is important to state that on many occasions, Mr President emphasized to the nation the urgent need to develop our human capital, which are our people and especially the youth. It is on this note that the National Assembly should be commended to the degree that most of the human development projects were captured in the budget by the legislature.

Nigerians should note that due to the back and forth that we have experienced in the past, the improvement of the budgetary process should be a higher priority than trading blames. This trading of blames and unnecessary scapegoating is not healthy — as it creates needless conflict between the two arms of government.

Finally, in order to ensure that all Capital Projects in the 2018 budget receive their necessary financing in the 2018 budget, we call on Mr President to present the borrowing plan to the National Assembly so that we can approve it.

We, therefore, want to urge all Executive appointees to ensure that they brief Mr President with the truth and facts of their engagement, to promote healthy and harmonious relationships between the Executive and the Legislature.

 

Read the full text of President Buhari’s Speech At Signing Of 2018 Budget here

Commitment To Infrastructure Devt Is A Key Feature Of This Administration – Adeosun

 

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to infrastructure development in the country, stating that it is a key feature of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Adeosun said this on Thursday during a panel discussion at the 2018 edition of the Annual IPI Conference in Abuja.

She also stated that since it took over power in 2015, the administration had promised to focus on infrastructure as it recognized the fact that “the only way we can really grow, develop and improve the cost of living or standard of living of our people, is to have an effective infrastructure”.

“Indeed, no country has been able to develop without infrastructure and its almost amazing that we’ve been able to get as far as we’ve gotten without essential infrastructure, without roads, without power, without rail, without housing, without all the enablements that an economy needs to grow,” she stated.

Read Also: LIVE: Buhari, Top Govt Officials Attend IPI World Congress In Abuja

According to her, it is for that reason that the government continues to make efforts to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

Speaking further, the finance minister also noted that in the 2018 Budget which was passed on Wednesday, a total of 1.6 trillion was allocated to infrastructure – a development which she described as a rare feat in Nigeria’s economic history.

“So one of the things that this government said from the beginning is, we are going to focus very strongly on infrastructure.

“In the budget that just closed, we released close to 1.6 trillion on infrastructure and that’s never been done in this country so our commitment to spending on infrastructure is part of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and its imbedded in the budget that was just signed yesterday”.

Adeosun also stated that following the huge allocation, in a short while, Nigerians will begin to clearly see the efforts of the government in terms of projects delivery.

“There’s a huge allocation for infrastructure and I think that in the next few month, you’ll begin to see projects completed because some of these are multiyear projects.

“You will see projects being completed and commissioned and people will see that this government has taken the project from beginning to end and finish things which is very important and we are committed to that,” she said.

Other panelists included the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Okechukwu Enelemah; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Chairman Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh (OON), who moderated the panel discussion.

The President, Mr Muhammadu Buhari, was also present, among other distinguished guests.

2018 Budget: SERAP Accuses National Assembly Of Crime Against Humanity

National Assembly Fixes April 24 To Pass 2018 Budget
File photo

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has accused the National Assembly of committing crimes against Humanity as the lawmakers allegedly cut funds meant for critical projects in the 2018 budget.

In a statement on Thursday, signed by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, SERAP said the lawmakers had cut down funds for critical projects such as health, education, housing and security, and replaced them with their own personal projects totalling 6,403 and amounting to N578 billion.

It, therefore, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to consider prosecuting the leadership and members of the National Assembly.

Their request comes a day after President Muhammad Buhari signed the 2018 appropriation bill into law.

Read Also: Buhari’s Speech At Signing Of 2018 Budget [Full Text]

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

According to him, many of the projects cut were critical and could 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,” he stated.

However, he said that he was determined to continue working with the National Assembly to improve the budgeting process and restore Nigeria to the January-December fiscal cycle.

The President also noted that he seeks to remedy some of the most critical issues “through a supplementary and/or amendment budget” which he hopes the National Assembly will be able to “expeditiously consider”.

But beyond this, SERAP has advised the President to prosecute lawmakers who are directly responsible for cutting down critical areas of the budget.

The statement read in part: “Instruct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to open discussion with the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to establish whether substantial grounds and the requisite elements exist to warrant the intervention of the Prosecutor in this case.

“We note that under the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor has the power to intervene in a situation under the jurisdiction of the Court if a state party, such as Nigeria, refers a situation to the court.

“Indicting individual lawmakers suspected to be most responsible for the reduction of funding for critical projects would provide a much-needed measure of accountability for leaders who have traditionally acted with impunity, assured that they will never be held to answer for their actions.

“Cutting funding for essential public services such as health, education and security constitutes a serious human rights violation and potentially rises to the level of crimes against humanity against the Nigerian people,” SERAP said.

Buhari’s Speech At Signing Of 2018 Budget [Full Text]

Buhari's Speech At Signing Of 2018 Budget [Full Text]
President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018,

President Muhammad Buhari on Wednesday finally signed the 2018 appropriation bill into law.

The President assented to the bill more than a month after it was passed by the National Assembly, and over seven months after he presented the proposal to the lawmakers.

READ ALSOPresident Buhari Signs 2018 Budget

Read the full statement at the signing of the budget below;

Protocols

I would like to thank the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as all the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, for passing the 2018 Appropriation Bill, after seven months.

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. The importance of this predictability cannot be overemphasised.

While the Federal Government’s budget represents less than 10% 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.

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.

It is in this regard that I am concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the budget proposals that 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. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

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.

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.

Such examples of projects from which cuts were made are as follows:

The provisions for some nationally/regionally strategic infrastructure projects such as Counter-part funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project were cut by an aggregate of 11.5 billion Naira.

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 7.5 billion Naira.

The provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was cut by 3.9 billion Naira from 4 billion Naira to 100 million Naira; this will make it impossible for the Federal Government of Nigeria to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on this project.

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 7.45 billion Naira.

The provision for security infrastructure in the 104 Unity Schools across the country was cut by 3 billion Naira at a time when securing our students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.

The provision for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme was cut by 8.7 billion Naira.

At a time when we are working with Labour to address compensation-related issues, a total of 5 billion Naira was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.

The provisions for Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Special Economic Zones/Industrial Parks, which are key industrialization initiatives of this Administration, were cut by a total of 14.5 billion Naira.

The provision for Construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport was cut from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira which will further delay the completion of this critical project.

The Take-off Grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government, was cut from 5 billion Naira to 3.4 billion Naira.

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.

Another area of concern is the increase by the National Assembly of the provisions for Statutory Transfers by an aggregate of 73.96 billion Naira. 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 14.5 billion Naira, from 125 billion Naira to 139.5 billion Naira without any discussion with the Executive.

Notwithstanding the above-stated observations, I have decided to sign the 2018 Budget in order not to further slow down the pace of recovery of our economy, which has doubtlessly been affected by the delay in passing the budget.

However, it is my intention to seek to remedy some of the most critical of these issues through a supplementary and/or amendment budget which I hope the National Assembly will be able to expeditiously consider.

I am pleased with the success recorded in the implementation of the 2017 Budget. A total sum of 1.5 trillion Naira has been released for the implementation of capital projects during the 2017 fiscal year. In response to this and other policy measures implemented, we have observed significant improvement in the performance of the Nigerian economy.

To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2018 Budget, we will work very hard to generate the revenues required to finance our projects and programmes. The positive global oil market outlook, as well as continuing improvement in non-oil revenues, make us optimistic about our ability to finance the budget.

However, being a deficit budget, the Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly. I crave the indulgence of the National Assembly for a speedy consideration and approval of the Plan.

The 2018 Budget I have just signed into law provides for aggregate expenditures of 9.12 trillion Naira, which is 22.6% higher than the 2017 Appropriation. Further details of the approved budget will be provided by the Minister of Budget and National Planning.

I thank the Ministers of Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, and everyone who worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much to bring us to this day. However, the job is only partly done.

I am sure you will remain committed to advancing our Change Agenda, not only in the preparation of the national budget but also in ensuring its effective implementation.

I thank you and may God bless Nigeria.

Buhari Signs 2018 Budget, Faults NASS Over Inclusion Of 6,403 Projects

President Buhari Signs 2018 Budget
President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law.

The President assented to the bill on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

READ ALSOBuhari’s Speech At Signing Of 2018 Budget [Full Text]

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

He said, “The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

“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.

 

President Buhari had submitted a budget proposal of N8.612 trillion to the National Assembly on November 7, 2017.

The lawmakers, however, increased the proposal by N508 billion to N9.12 trillion, when they passed the Appropriation Bill on May 16, 2018 – six months after it was presented.

The President signed the budget in company of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

Some of the ministers, who witnessed the signing are Senator Udo Udoma (Budget and National Planning), Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), and Kemi Adeosun (Finance).

It’s Our Duty To Make Changes To The Budget, Reps Reply Buhari

Reps In Rowdy Session Over June 12 Declaration, Ask Buhari To Honour Nwosu

The House of Representatives has justified the inclusion of new projects in the 2018 budget, insisting it is the duty of the National Assembly to make changes in the budget.

In an interview with Channels Television, spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, explained that the Nigerian constitution did not indicate that federal lawmakers cannot make input to the national budgets.

“The makers of the Constitution never envisaged that when a proposal is laid before the National Assembly we should return it the way the President or the executive brought it.

“If that is the case, there would be no point bringing it to the National Assembly. But the makers of this constitution know that there must be a second opinion because they are elected representatives of the people.

“For us to tinker with the budget is our duty,” Namdas said.

His comment is in reaction to President Buhari’s criticisms of the amendments which the lawmakers made to the 2018 Appropriation Bill before passing it.

Speaking further in response to the concerns raised by President Buhari that the National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the 2018 budget, Namdas noted that some of the projects designed by the executive in the 2018 budget do not meet the needs of the common man.

Namdas said the lawmakers made the changes in the budget to ensure that the  interest of every Nigerian which the lawmakers represent at the National Assembly is reflected in the 2018 Budget .

Namdas said, “I am elected like any other 360 members of the House of Reps and 190 Senators. We represent consistencies. We know the issues on ground, so when we are working on this budget, you need to work to ensure that every part of this budget has fair share of the commonwealth of the nation.”

2018 Budget: I’m Concerned About Some Changes The National Assembly Made – Buhari

Stop Glorifying Thieves, These Pains Are Temporary, Buhari Tells Nigerians
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is unhappy with some of the amendments the National Assembly made to the 2018 Appropriation Bill before passing it.

The President spoke about the implication of the changes in Abuja on Wednesday when he signed the bill into law, more than a month after it was passed and over seven months after he presented the bill to the lawmakers.

He said, “I am concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the budget proposals that 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.”

While presenting the budget proposal before the lawmakers on November 7, 2017, President Buhari informed them that the objective of the executive was to use the Budget to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.

Although the lawmakers increased the proposal by N508 billion from N8.61 trillion to N9.12 trillion before passing it, they made cuts to some projects and introduced others which the President consider a setback to his plans.

“The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira,” 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.”

The President is also worried about “an aggregate of N73 billion increase” the National Assembly made with regard to the provisions for statutory transfers.

“Most of these increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time we are trying to keep down the cost of governance,” he said.

“An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by 14.5 billion naira, from 125 billion naira to 139.5 billion naira without any discussion with the executive.”

Examples of the projects cut according to the President are:

a. The provisions for some nationally/regionally strategic infrastructure projects such as Counter-part funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project were cut by an aggregate of 11.5 billion Naira.

b. 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 7.5 billion Naira.

c. The provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was cut by 3.9 billion Naira from 4 billion Naira to 100 million Naira; this will make it impossible for the Federal Government of Nigeria to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on this project.

d. 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 7.45 billion Naira.

e. The provision for security infrastructure in the 104 Unity Schools across the country was cut by 3 billion Naira at a time when securing our students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.
f. The provision for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme was cut by 8.7 billion Naira.

g. At a time when we are working with Labour to address compensation-related issues, a total of 5 billion Naira was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.

h. The provisions for Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Special Economic Zones/Industrial Parks, which are key industrialization initiatives of this Administration, were cut by a total of 14.5 billion Naira.

i. The provision for Construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport was cut from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira which will further delay the completion of this critical project.

j. The Take-off Grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government, was cut from 5 billion Naira to 3.4 billion Naira.

k. 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.

Buhari To Send Supplementary Budget To National Assembly

Buhari's Speech At Signing Of 2018 Budget [Full Text]
President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018,

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed his plan to forward a supplementary budget to the National Assembly.

He disclosed this on Wednesday shortly after signing the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

READ ALSOPresident Buhari Signs 2018 Budget

The President also raised concerns about some of the changes made by the lawmakers in the 2018 budget.

He, however, said, “It is my intention to seek to remedy some of the most critical of these issues through a supplementary and/or amendment budget which I hope the National Assembly will be able to expeditiously consider.”

President Buhari explained that despite his worry about the changes in the budget, he signed the bill into law in order not to further slow down the pace of Nigeria’s economic recovery.

Some of the issues raised by the President include the reduction of allocation for the provision of security infrastructure in the 104 Unity Schools across the country by N3billion at a time when securing the students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern for the government.

He stressed that at a time when they are working with the labour to address compensation-related issues, N5 billion was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.

Buhari’s Speech At Signing Of 2018 Budget [Full Text]

President Buhari also decried that about 70 new road projects were inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

He noted that 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.

The President was also unhappy that the provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was reduced from N4 billion to N100 million – a difference of N3.9 billion.

According to him, the effect of the reduction will make it impossible for the government to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on the project.

“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,” President Buhari said.

He was, however, pleased with the success recorded in the implementation of the 2017 budget.

The President added that the government would work very hard to generate the revenues required to finance its projects and programmes, in its resolve to achieve the objectives of the 2018 budget.