From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has given his consent that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, to sign the 2017 Appropriation Bill into law, in the interest of the nation’s economy.
This was announced by the Senior Special Assistant to Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said in a statement.
The N7.441 trillion 2017 budget, christened Budget of Growth and Recovery 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 19th.
According to the statement, the backing is “to buttress the unity at the highest level of government, President Buhari has indicated that it is in the interest of the nation’s economy for the Acting President, Professor Osinbajo, to sign the Appropriation Bill into law.”
The Presidential Media Aide said a letter dated June 10, which Buhari personally signed and addressed to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said the president said he was “pleased by the joint resolution that the Executive would submit next year’s budget proposals by October 2017 and the National Assembly will conclude the Appropriation process by December 2017, so that the country can return to a normal fiscal period from next year onwards.”
Preparatory to the conclusion of the budget process which has lasted seven months, Osinbajo met with members of the two chambers of the National Assembly led by Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, on Saturday morning.
Unconfirmed sources had hinted of huge discrepancies noticed in the cause of the consultations. Findings by Daily Sun revealed that the budget was actually to be signed penultimate Thursday but a meeting to clear the grey areas, only ended last week.
At the meetings the Presidency was said to be displeased that the leadership of the National Assembly unilaterally introduced more than 400 ‘strange projects’ into the budget before belatedly approving it last month. Some of the projects are said to be roads, health centres, recreational centres, water and electricity schemes amongst others.