At excatly 4:40pm on Monday, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo signed the 2017 budget into law. The budget was passed by the senate and house of reps on the 11th of May, 2017.
The budget, christened: ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth’, has a revenue projection of N5.08tn and an aggregate expenditure of N7.44tn. The projected fiscal deficit of N2.36tn is to be financed largely by borrowing.
Shortly after signing the document into law at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo described the budget as an important milestone in the nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan that was unveiled in April by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He commended the Ministry of Budget and National Planning for preparing a good document, and the National Assembly for the rancour-free manner in which it was passed.
Osinbajo, however, explained that he delayed the signing of the budget because of the disagreements the Executive had about the changes introduced to the document by the Legislature.
He said the Executive’s stance was that the changes would affect some of the Federal Government’s priority programmes and would make implementation difficult or even impossible.
Osinbajo explained that he finally decided to sign the document after the leadership of the National Assembly gave a commitment to reinstate the budgetary allocations for all the important Executive projects, such as the standard gauge railway projects, the Mambilla power project, the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, among others, which the lawmakers had reduced to fund some of the new projects they introduced.
Osinbajo added that during the discussions with the leadership of the National Assembly, it was resolved that the nation should return to a predictable January-to-December fiscal year.
Describing it as a particularly important development, he said it was in accord with the financial year of most private sector companies, underscoring the crucial relationship between the government and the private .
To this end, Osinbajo said on the understanding that the Executive would be submitting the 2018 budget proposals to the National Assembly by October this year, the leadership of the National Assembly had committed to working towards its passage into law before the end of 2017.
He said the budget he signed into law reflected the government’s commitment to ensuring strong linkage between the ERGP and the annual budgets.
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