Budget: NASS has no right to inject new projects –Osinbajo

Budget: NASS has no right to inject new projects –Osinbajo

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the National Assembly lacks power to inject new projects or modify the 2017 budget.

Osinbajo, who signed the 2017 budget into law on Monday, said the National Assembly only has the right to allocate funds for projects in the budgetary proposals submitted by the Executive arm of government. 

He had, after signing the budget on Monday, explained that he delayed the signing because of the disagreements the Executive over the changes introduced into the document by the Legislature. 

Osinbajo spoke yesterday during the flag-off of the 2018 budget and ERGP Implementation Plan Development Process by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning at the old Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja.

He also stressed on the need for full attention by all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to the details of the budget.  Osinbajo, who described the 2017 budget as very crucial, said President Muhammadu Buhari is very concerned with the budget and its full implementation.

He said: “I am sure we understand not just how to do it right, but to get it done in good time.

“The president presented the budget last December. Despite the assurances that it will be passed in by February, it was not until May.

“As it turned out, we were quite disappointed that it spent a bit of time before it was approved.

“And, thereafter, we had to go into negotiations with the National Assembly in order to get it right.  Now, there are these two broad issues about who can do what. The first report is about who can do what. When you present budget to the National Assembly, it is presented as a bill, an appropriation bill. 

“And secondly, do not introduce entirely new projects and all of that or modify projects. This is something that we experienced last year and this year. It now leaves the question about who is supposed to do what.”

Osinbajo signed the N7.441 trillion 2017 budget, christened Budget of Growth and Recovery, which was approved by the National Assembly on May 11, raising it from N7.298 trillion to N7.441 trillion. The budget was submitted to the Presidency on May 19.

The federal government is set to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation of N7.441 trillion.

Of that amount N438,412,952,249 will be for statutory transfers. N1.841,345,727,206 will be for debt service, N177,416,296,707 will be for a sinking fund for maturing bonds, N2.987,550,3436 will be for recurrent non-debt expenditure while  N2.177,866,775,867 will be Development Fund for capital expenditure exclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers for the year ending on December 31, 2017. 

The budget has a revenue projection of N5.08 trillion, while the projected fiscal deficit of N2.36 trillion will be financed largely by borrowing.

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