Six days after the initial proposal date for the presentation of the 2017 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday formally announced his preparedness to present the 2017 Appropriation Bill on December 14. The presentation was said to have earlier been conceived for presentation on December 1.
But the document was formally approved on November 30 by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). However, Buhari, in separate letters addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said the budget which was designed to bring Nigeria out of recession, would be presented before a joint session of the National Assembly next Wednesday.
“I crave the kind indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 1,000 hours on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 to formally address a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2017 budget proposal and our plans to get the country out of recession.
“Please extend Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest regards to the distinguished senators, was I look forward to addressing the joint session,” the letter read.
The preparation towards the presentation of the budget had been mired in controversy, as the executive and the National Assembly particularly the Senate had traded blames over the 2017 budget process.
The blame game resulted in delays in the passage of the Medium Term and Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) which was submitted by Buhari on September 30 in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).
However, the planned presentation of the budget next Wednesday, as was also the case last year, is in violation of the FRA which provides for the passage of the MTEF and FSP as the benchmark for presentation of the annual budget.
The idea was that provisions in the MTEF as approved would serve as guidance to the executive in the preparation of the budget for the next fiscal year.