Buhari unhappy, to sign N9.1tr 2018 budget Wednesday
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Federal Government has said that plans have been concluded for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the N9.1trillion 2018 Appropriation Act into law on Wednesday, insisting that the President is sad over the delay in the passage of the bill by the National Assembly, hike in the value and injection of some local government projects.
President Buhari had submitted the N8.6 trillion budget proposals to a joint session of the National Assembly on November 7, 2017, which was passed late last month and submitted to the presidency for assent, having been jerked to N9.1trillion.
The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Asesina, who confirmed this development, said the signing ceremony is slated for 12 noon on Wednesday, an indication that the weekly Federal Executive Council FEC, meeting would not hold.
“I can confirm to you that the President will sign the budget into law at 12 noon on Wednesday,” the presidential spokesman said.
It was further gathered that the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council that normally holds every Wednesday will not hold on that day. But the reason for the cancellation of the weekly meeting was not clear. However sources said that the cancellation of the FEC meeting might be as a result of the budget signing ceremony, since both events hold at the council chambers almost within the same time range.
Adesina noted that the President is not total happy and satisfied with the final copy of the budget but had to sign it to forestall further delays in its implementation, which would further hurt the economy.
According to him, apart from the delay, the president is sad with the hike in the value of the budget as well as infusion of certain projects that should not have been expedient in the estimation of the presidency at least for now.
Experts however believe that the decision of the president to sign the budget against all odds might not be unconnected with the fact that any further delay might work against its own projections since the lifespan of the capital aspect of the budged elapsed on June 17 while the recurrent aspect will also end on June 30, 2018.
The experts also argued that it might be a deliberate scheme by the National Assembly to return the budget to the presidency a little late so that it might not have the luxury of time to begin to scrutinise and probably return to the lawmakers for adjustments.
“From the president’s body language, if he has another three months in the lifespan of the 2017 budget, he would have withheld his assent and most likely return the budget to the National Assembly but he has been boxed into a corner and that is why he is signing it into law even when he is not satisfied with it”, the experts had argued.