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Buhari to sign 2021 budget on Thursday

Buhari to sign 2021 budget on Thursday

Nigeria’s President, Mohammadu Buhari

Barring any last minute change in plan, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will sign the 2021 Appropriation Bill into law on Thursday, media source disclosed.

The National Assembly had last Monday passed the N13.58tn budget for the next fiscal year.

It had been the desire of the present regime to restore the country’s budget to January to December cycle.

This was achieved with the 2020 budget which Buhari signed into law on December 17, 2019.

It is also the desire of the Presideny to sustain the feat this year.

Thursday on which the 2021 bill is expected to be signed into law is the last day in 2020.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed this to our correspondent on Tuesday evening.

“All things being equal (and note this), the President will sign the 2021 budget into law on Thursday.

“It is not likely that the plan will change though,” the presidential aide said.

The usual process is that when budgets passed by the National Assembly are transmitted to the President, they are made available to ministers.

The purpose is for the ministers to scrutinise the document to ensure that what was returned was the same thing sent to the lawmakers.

A source in the Presidency who pleaded not to be named because he had not been authorised to speak on the matter told our correspondent that in the case of the 2021 Appropriation Bill, this had not been done.

He said in going ahead to sign the document on Thursday, the President and his men might have resolved to send supplementary budget to the National Assembly to correct whatever discrepancies later discovered in the fiscal document.

The National Assembly last Monday passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill, raising the total estimates from the proposed N13.08tn to N13.59tn, an increase of over N500bn.

The President had on October 8, 2020, laid the money bill before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations had laid a harmonised report in the respective chambers as the National Assembly held special sessions mainly to pass the national budget ahead of the Christmas and New Year break.

Out of the total sum of N13.59tn for 2021, N496.53bn is for statutory transfers; N3.32tn is for debt service; N5.64tn is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure; while the sum of N4.13tn is for capital expenditure.

While statutory transfers totalling N496.53bn were approved, it was observed that the N125bn proposed for the National Assembly and its affiliates had been raised by N8.99bn, putting the new total estimates at N133.99bn.

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