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Buhari signs 2018 Appropriation Bill into law, N1.58 trn already disbursed

President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (20/6/18). Standing behind him are: Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly  Matter (House) Suleiman Kawu; Representative of the Senate President, Sen Ibn Na’ala; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Mustapha Bala; Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly  Matter (Senate) Sen Ita Enang; Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen Danjuma Goje; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Representative of Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep Ado Doguwa and Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari.
03269/20/6/2018/Callistus Ewelike/NAN

The Nigerian’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday signed the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N9.12 trillion into law after seven months of its submission to National Assembly (NASS).
The President, however, expressed concern over changes made by NASS to the budget proposal.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on Oct. 26, 2017 approved the 2018 draft budget of N8.612 trillion but NASS increased the budget from N8.612 trillion earlier proposed to N9.12 trillion.
The Senate also increased the crude oil benchmark for the budget from 45 dollars per barrel to 50.5 dollars per barrel.
Buhari then noted with concern that the National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
The President said “many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.  Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualised, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.
“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by NASS have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.
“As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of states and local governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.’’
The President pointed out that another area of concern was the increase in the provisions for Statutory Transfers by an aggregate of N73.96 billion by NASS.
According to him, most of the increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time when the administration is trying to keep down the cost of governance.
He said: “an example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself, increased by N14.5 billion from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the Executive.’’
The President, however, thanked the leadership of NASS, particularly the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Senators and members for passing the 2018 Appropriation Bill after seven months.
In a related development, the Federal Government has released N1.58 trillion as capital expenditure to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), from the 2017 budget.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun disclosed this in a statement issued by Director, Information in the ministry, Mr Hassan Dodo on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adeosun said the N1.58 trillion total capital releases for 2017 were higher than the N1.219 trillion total capital releases for 2016.
The minister said that in the 2017 capital releases, the Power, Works and Housing sectors received the highest allocation of N523 billion which was 33.10 per cent of the total capital releases.
“The sector received the highest releases in the 2016 capital budget, which was a total of N307.4 billion (25.21 per cent) of the 2016 capital budget.
“Defence and security sector received the second highest capital releases of N197.5 billion (12.50 per cent) in 2017, as against N77.5 billion (6.36 per cent) total releases the sector received in 2016,’’ she said.
The minister said that Agriculture and Water Resources sector received N149.4 billion (9.46 per cent) in 2017, adding that the sector received N143.1 billion (11.74 per cent) of capital releases in 2016.
Adeosun said that Transportation sector received N126.2 billion (7.99 per cent) of the 2017 capital releases as against N171.9 billion (14.10 per cent) it received in 2016.
“Health and Education sectors together received N98.1 billion (6.21 per cent) for 2017 as against N56, 270,030,992.00 (4.61 per cent) the sectors received in 2016.
“Other sectors combined received N485.7 billion, which was 30.74 per cent of the 2017 capital releases.
“In 2016, a total of N463.2 billion (37.99 per cent) was disbursed to these sectors,” she said.
Adeosun, however, said that in spite of the economic challenges in 2017, the Federal Government was able to fully cash-back the capital releases.
In addition, she said the sustained high allocations to key sectors were a reflection of the government’s commitment to infrastructure development in the country.
She also said that the Federal Government was working assiduously to attract private capital to complement government spending in these key areas.