President Buhari ripped into the national assembly while signing the 2018 budget into law. Here are 5 ways the president threw lawmakers under the bus.
Recall that the president tendered an N8.6trillion 2018 budget before a joint session of the national assembly on November 7, 2017.
However, after lawmakers were done with the budget, the appropriation bill had been increased by N508billion and the national assembly budget had been increased to N139billion (from N125billion in the 2017 budget).
There were also cuts to capital expenditure estimates from lawmakers before the document was transmitted to the president for assent.
To cut a long story short, Buhari didn't recognize the budget he sent to lawmakers for approval.
All of which has left the president fuming.
The president took on the national assembly in his speech and we got quotes for days….
In Buhari’s words: “I am concerned about some of the changes that the national assembly has made to the budget proposals that I presented.
“The logic behind the constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.
“Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira."
According to the president: “Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the national assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.
“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the national assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.
“As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.”
According to Buhari, the national assembly inflated its own budget and cut down the budgets for critical infrastructure projects like schools, healthcare, airports etc.
Buhari said: About seventy (70) new road projects have been inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. In doing so, the national assembly applied some of the additional funds expected from the upward review of the oil price benchmark to the Ministry’s vote.
“Regrettably, however, in order to make provision for some of the new roads, the amounts allocated to some strategic major roads have been cut by the national assembly”.
Remember when y’all tore your hair out over Senator Shehu Sani's revelation that senators take home N13.5million in allowances monthly? Oh well, it’s going to get even better for lawmakers because their budget has gone up by N14.5billion.
Buhari said: “An example of this increase is the budget of the national assembly itself which has increased by 14.5billion Naira, from 125 billion Naira to 139.5 billion Naira without any discussion with the Executive”.
You read that right. Lawmakers didn’t even tell Buhari they were going to be jacking up their pay. That must really hurt, yeah?
Here’s what the president said: “Notwithstanding the above stated observations, I have decided to sign the 2018 Budget in order not to further slowdown the pace of recovery of our economy, which has doubtlessly been affected by the delay in passing the budget”.