Nigerian Lawmakers Set To Extend 2017 Budget To May 31, 2018

Nigerian Lawmakers Set To Extend 2017 Budget To May 31, 2018

By Wires Editor | The Trent on March 29, 2018
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President Muhammadu Buhari, Yakubu Barde, Agom Adara, Nasir el-Rufai, Oghene Emma-Igoh
The Nigerian Senate | The Trent

Lawmakers in Nigeria’s National Assembly have requested an extension of the country’s 2017 budget till May 31, 2018, pending the passage as well as the presidential assent of the 2018 budget.

Mustapha Dawaki, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, stated this at a joint public hearing on the national budget held at the National Assembly on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, last week announced that the 2018 budget will be laid before both chambers on April 19, 2018, and passed on April 24, 2018.

Dogara said the harmonised date was decided by both chambers of the National Assembly.

Dawaki further disclosed that the lawmakers had written to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, to extend the budget.

“We are told that the Office of the Accountant-General is expected to close the account as at March end.

“We have written a letter on Monday, March 26, 2018, drawing his attention to the fact that the budget should be extended to May 31, 2018. But if the passage of the budget, scheduled for April 24, 2018, is done and gets the president’s assent, whichever comes earlier, then the Accountant-General should also strictly adhere to the contents of the letter,” he said.

He further asked all contractors to continue working, adding that “budget account will not be closed until the budget is passed and accepted by the president or until May 31, 2018.”

In his opening remark, Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, stressed that the Public Hearing on the Budget as part of the enactment process has come to stay.

He explained that the National Assembly was concerned about government-owned enterprises whose operating surpluses have always been significantly lower than projections.

“Invariably, over the years, the performance of independent revenues has fallen short by at least 50 percent. While we work towards setting new performance standards for government corporations as well as developing stronger oversight frameworks to improve performance in independent revenues, we do expect more realistic projections of Corporations operating surpluses,” he said.

Mr. Saraki emphasised the need for the Finance Bill, urging the government to show clarity and consistency in its policies and to see how these will square up to its financial projections for 2018.

Read more at Premium Times

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