Buhari presents 2018 budget to NASS today


President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday (today) present the 2018 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.

The 2018 budget proposal presentation is scheduled to hold at 2pm.

 The Federal Government plans to spend about N8.6tn next year, a jump of about 15 per cent from the N7.44tn budgeted for the current year.

The figures were contained in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which Buhari had earlier sent to the National Assembly in compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

 However, some of the National Assembly members (from both chambers) are pessimistic about the presentation especially as the current 2017 budget has not been fully implemented.

This has led to intensive lobbying by leaders of both chambers (Saraki and Dogara) to avoid any unnecessary drama at the presentation.

A source at the National Assembly confirmed the development to newsmen.

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The source said, “The President will present the budget on Tuesday (today) but there is an issue. Some members of the National Assembly, particularly in the House of Representatives, are against the presentation of a new budget proposal when the current one has not been implemented considerably.

“If you recall, there were protests in the House of Representatives when the President’s letter was read last week. The issue now is how to contain the aggrieved lawmakers so that they will not raise their grievances as Buhari presents the budget. Their grouse may be legitimate but we don’t want a situation where the session will record unpalatable drama or become rowdy.

“This is the reason why there have been series of meetings with caucuses in the chambers, including the one by the leaders, which will hold tonight (Monday). Again, it is most likely that there will be a closed-door session at the beginning of the plenary tomorrow; this is another way of preventing a crisis.”

Members of the House of Representatives had on Thursday protested as Buhari requested their permission in a letter to present the estimates of the 2018 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.

Dogara, however, reminded his colleagues that under the Constitution, they could not refuse to receive the appropriation bill from the President.