Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president on Wednesday signed the 2018 appropriation bill into law. This comes after Nigerian senate sent the bill in May, over 6 weeks ago.
The president, however, expressed concern over changes the Nigerian senate made to the budget on three issues, namely projects to be undertaken, compensation related issues and statutory transfers.
On projects, he expressed his dismay saying, “unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.”
He also said that the provision made for the construction of the terminal building at Enugu Airport was cut from N2 billion to N500 million and this would further delay the completion of the project. Another project that was targeted by the Nigerian senate was the take-off grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government, which was also cut from N5 billion to N3.4 billion.
On labour concerns, a total of N5 billion was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.
Despite these project funding cuts by the Nigerian lawmakers, the Nigerian senate applied some of the additional funds expected from the upward review of the oil price benchmark to make room for about seventy new road projects. These projects have been inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Another area of concern is the increase by Nigerian senate of the provisions for statutory transfers by an aggregate of N73.96 billion, despite the attempts by the FG to reduce its cost of governance.
An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by N14.5 billion, from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any prior discussion with the executive, he added.