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NASS may halt Presidency’s bid to present 2018 budget

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The ambitious bid by the Presidency to present its budget to the National Assembly next month may not materialise after all, due to several factors, chief among which is the postponement of the resumption from vacation by lawmakers.

The lawmakers, who went on their annual vacation in July, were to resume today, but inexplicably extended their resumption date by a week, citing lack of funds. But Vanguard learned exclusively that the lawmakers had not acted on the request by the Presidency to approve the virement for capital projects in the 2017 budget worth hundreds of billions of naira, though the Presidency had sent in the request long before they proceeded on the vacation in July. Yet to approve virement for 2017 capital projects A top Presidency source told Vanguard, yesterday, that the lawmakers ignored the urgency, which was highlighted in the request for the virement for capital projects and proceeded on leave, leaving the Federal Government with no option than to wait until they resume for the critical approval. MTEF for 2018 estimates But while the delay by the lawmakers has effectively stalled the execution of many capital projects and their delayed resumption has also held down the consideration and approval of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, for the consideration of the 2018 budget. The MTEF sets the benchmark for any budget and remains a precursor to any appropriation. It was learned that in a bid to forestall the delay in the preparation and passage of the 2018 budget into law, President Buhari had directed all the agencies of government to furnish the Budget and National Planning Ministry with the details of the expenditure for the year on or before the end of September. The directive was to enable the ministry put together the fiscal document for onward presentation by the Presidency to the NASS in the second week of October 2017 so that they could approve the budget before the end of the year. In line with the presidential directive, Vanguard learned that all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, promptly presented their budgetary needs to Ministry of Budget and National Planning last week.

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