The National Assembly on Tuesday received the report of 2017 N7.30 trillion budget proposal from its committees.
The report, which was laid at the upper and lower chambers, indicated that the committees increased the figures to N7.44 trillion, representing an addition of about N143 billion to the one presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 14.
According to the report, N434.4 billion is for statutory transfer, N1.84 trillion for debt servicing and N177.46 billion for sinking fund for maturing bonds.
The committees appropriated N2.99 trillion for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while N2.17 trillion was provided for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure.
Recall that in 2016, a similar increase in the budget sparked series of controversy as Abdulmumin Jibrin, one of the representatives alleged that the budget was “padded”.
Jibrin, who was subsequently suspended for 180 legislative days after raising allegations that the leadership of the House had increased the appropriation bill for their own personal interest.
Observers are concerned that the committee was submitting its report two days after President Muhammadu Buhari left for an indefinite medical vacation in London.
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that the Senate will ensure the passage of the 2017 budget tomorrow.
Saraki said this after the report of the budget was laid at plenary by Danjuma Goje, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Appropriation.
Commending the committee for a “job well done”, Saraki said in the history of the country, this would be the first time that budget report would be laid with details. “On behalf of our colleagues, let me congratulate the committee,” he said.
“This is history being made, because this is the first time report of the appropriation bill will be laid with details. Because of that, by tomorrow (Wednesday) you will get hard copies of the report, but the soft copy will be ready today. We will distribute them and ensure we pass the bill on Thursday.”
The 2017 budget proposal report was laid four days after the expiration of the 2016 fiscal year.
President Buhari had presented a budget proposal of N7.30 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year before a joint session of the National Assembly on December 14, 2016.
From details of Buhari’s proposal, the sum of N2.24 trillion, representing 30.7 per cent, will be committed to capital expenditure, while N2.98 trillion will go to recurrent spending.
Buhari had also set the oil benchmark price at $42.5 per barrel with a production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day.
The proposal also put the aggregated revenue available to fund the budget at N4.94 trillion, which is 28 per cent higher than that of 2016.