From Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, signed the 2023 budget of N21.83 trillion along with the 2022 supplementary Appropriation Bill into law in the council chambers of the State House.
It is the 8th and final budget of the president and has as its themed: ‘Budget of Fiscal Sustainability and Transition.’
The President also asked the lawmakers to reconsider his requestthatthey legitimiseor restructure theN22.7trillion obtained by the Federal Government as ‘Ways and Means’ from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Senate had, on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, approved the 2023 Appropriation Bill.
On October 7, 2022, President Buhari had presented the 2023 fiscal budget to the joint session of the National Assembly, where he proposed an annual budget of N20.51 trillion for 2023, an increased by 19.8 per cent when compared to the N17.13 trillion approved for 2022, including the supplementary budget.
At 10:02am, yesterday,Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, and Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Nasiru Ila, presented the budget to Buhari for signing.
He was joined by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, Secretary to theGovernmentofthe Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Assembly, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State Budget and National Assembly, Clem Agba, Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, and staff of the budget office.
The President urged the next administration to continue the January to December budget circle by presenting the Appro- priation Bill on time.
He said he decided to sign the 2023bill into law as passed by the National Assembly to enable its implementation to commence without delay.
He, however, directed the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to engage with
the legislature to revisit some of the changes made to the executive budget proposal, saying: “It is my hope that we will receive cooperation in this regard from the National Assembly.”
The President said the aggregate expenditures of N21.83 trillion was an increase of N1.32 trillion over the initial executive proposal for a total expenditure of N20.51 trillion.
He said: “The 2023 budget that I have the honour of signing into law today provides for aggregate expenditures of N21.83 trillion, an increase of N1.32 trillion over the initial executive proposal for a total expenditure of N20.51 trillion. As is customary, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will subsequently provide more details of the approved budget and the supporting 2022 Finance Act.
“We have examined the changes made by the National Assembly to the 2023 executive budget proposal. The amended fiscal framework for 2023 as approved by the National Assembly shows additional revenues of N765.79 billion, and an unfunded deficit of N553.46 billion. It is clear that National Assembly and the executive need to capture some of the proposed additional revenue sources in the fiscal framework. This must be rectified. I have also noted that the National Assembly introduced new projects into the 2023 budget proposal for which it has appropriated N770.72 billion. The National Assembly also increased the provisions made by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by N58.55 billion.”
Meanwhile, asked if the National Assembly will reconsider President Buhari’s proposal on the Ways and Means of Central Bank, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the request was already being considered, but that the lawmakers would not do so blindly.
“We are already considering that, but let me tell you where the problem is. While we are trying to consider and pass the request, we will insist on getting the right documents for our committees to ensure whatever they advise us to do in the two chambers are based on information and knowledge and not just passing ways and means without knowing what it is.”