National Assembly finally passes 2018 budget

National Assembly finally passes 2018 budget

The National Assembly, comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives, on Wednesday passed the 2018 budget. The budget was increased from the earlier proposal of N8.612 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2017 to N9.120trn.

The Senate dissolved into Committee on Supply to do the clause-by-clause consideration of the budget.

Breakdown of the proposal show are N530,421,368,624 for Statutory Transfer; N2,203,835,365,699 for Debt Service; N3,512,677,902,077 for Recurrent Expenditure, N2,873,400,351,825 for Capital Expenditure, Fiscal Deficit of N1,954,464,993,775 and 1.73 percent Deficit to GDP.

Earlier, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Dajuma Goje, revealed that increase in the budget by N508 billion was done in consultation with the executive arm of government.

The House of Representatives headed by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday also passed the budget.

13-clauses accompanying the bill were also approved and passed.

The House suspended its rules to immediately take the third reading of the bill and set up a conference committee headed by the Chairman House Committee on Banking and Currency, Jones Onyeriere to harmonize with the Senate.

Before the passage of the appropriation bill, the House went into a closed -door session.

In a bid to stop the payments of un-appropriated subsidies and other payments not approved by the National Assembly, the lawmakers inserted the clause “The minister of Finance shall ensure that only funds appropriated under this act are released to the appropriate.”

Dogara said there was no request for subsidies and that it can only come through supplementary budget and that the House cannot give approval for what was not requested.

“We’re not Father Christmas here,” he said.

The budget is to run from the date it is assented into law till June 30th, 2019.