BY SOLOMON AYADO, Abuja –
Save for any unforeseen circumstance, there are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari may present the 2018 budget proposal to the National Assembly this week.
The National Assembly had last year fixed October 2017 as deadline for the submission of the Appropriation Bill, a target the federal government equally accepted as sacrosanct and assured that it was committed to meeting it.
The special adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, told LEADERSHIP last night that communication between the presidency and the National Assembly on scheduled date for the president to present the Bill is still ongoing.
Enang said in the event where it is concluded and the president gets signal from the legislature to present the Budget proposal, the budget presentation may probably take place this week.
The presidential aide had recently assured that government was working assiduously to ensure that the deadline was complied with to take the country back to the annual budget cycle of January to December.
Presidential sources also told LEADERSHIP yesterday that, with this week being the last in the month of October, there is no doubt that the executive would want to fulfill its promise of presenting the budget draft to the National Assembly within the week.
The spokesperson of the Senate and chairman of Senate committee on media and public affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, told our correspondent yesterday that, while the National Assembly has set deadline for budget submission, the presidency is in a better position to authenticate the actual time it will present the Appropriation Bill.
The minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, had hinted last week that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the 2018 budget estimates after the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) had made their budget inputs.
Briefing State House correspondents after FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja last Thursday, Udoma said FEC will liaise with the National Assembly to fix a date when the president would submit the draft to the legislature.
He did not disclose details of the budget on the ground that it is the president’s prerogative to submit the budget proposals and give the details.
Udoma said, “Council approved a draft 2018 budget proposals. So, we will be liaising with the National Assembly on a date in which the president will formally submit the budget to them.
“It is the president’s prerogative to submit the budget, submit the proposals and give the details. I will be operating above my brief if I do that; the constitution gives that authority to the president.
“We did promise that the budget will be ready in October and it will be ready in October. We are liaising with the National Assembly because they have to approve the date for the president to come and address them to submit the budget”.
Asked whether it is feasible to pass the 2018 budget in January, the minister said, “Before now we use to submit in December but now, the budget is ready in October. So, there is a very big difference”
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