Non-transmission of Budget Details to Buhari Delays Review and Assent

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President Muhammadu Buhari

·US to press Nigeria on exchange rate flexibility
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja and Zacheaus Somorin with agency report
Fresh facts have emerged as to why President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to sign the 2016 budget into law even though highlights of the Appropriation Bill have been transmitted to his office by the National Assembly.

A source at the presidency, who confirmed to THISDAY that the president had indeed received the budget, said however that Buhari could not assent to it because what was sent to him contained only the highlights and not the full budget.

The source, who said he was not authorised to speak on the matter, noted that even though the president was very anxious to sign it into law, he could not do so because the highlights do not contain the amendments made to the budget by the lawmakers.

THISDAY had exclusively reported on Monday that the president was awaiting the submission of the budget by the legislature, following which the document would be sent to all the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government for review to ascertain any significant amendments carried out by the legislature.

The objective of the review is to verify if any of the amendments by the legislature are inconsistent with the spending plan of the executive, thus rendering it unimplementable.

Throwing more light on the issue yesterday, the presidency source said: “As a result, the president has been handicapped in signing the bill because he does not know what is contained in the details and what adjustments the National Assembly must have made to the proposal sent to them.

“Although he is anxious to sign the document so that it’s implementation can start immediately, he is afraid he may later discover, when the details are sent, that what is contained therein is not implementable.

“He wishes the National Assembly could send in the details speedily so that it could be considered for assent.”
Another source, who said he monitored the way the National Assembly had handled the budget, disclosed that either the National Assembly did not complete work on the budget or the lawmakers were playing politics with the document which affects the economy of both the country and its citizens.

“The National Assembly may just have passed the bill to pass the buck to the executive and escape the wrath of the public which was gradually suspecting it of sabotage.

“As it is, the Budget Office cannot also work on the budget for implementation because it is the details and not the highlights that they convert into implementable templates for the respective MDAs,” the second source said.
THISDAY also learnt that ‎ministers are also eager that the budget be signed into law so they can start implementing their programmes, but have agreed with the president that the budget can only be signed into law when the details have been transmitted to the president.

They are particularly worried that the year is gradually advancing and the provision of the law in respect to spending from the previous year’s budget is not helping matters because of the low capital provision in 2015 budget.

The presidency was of the view that because of the low provision made last year for capital expenditure, spending 50 per cent of that provision in the first half of this year would have no meaningful impact on infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, the United States said yesterday that it would press Nigeria in talks this week to adopt a more flexible foreign exchange rate to boost growth and investments in Africa’s largest economy.

According to Reuters, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace that Nigeria should ensure that the value of the naira currency versus the U.S. dollar was “more realistic”.

“While most people complain about the possibility of there being a devaluation, people are already operating on a devalued currency, and the only people who are not, are people who are doing it officially,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“Our recommendation is, and we will have discussions about it… that they should look at the exchange rate and try to make the exchange rate more realistic to what the value of the naira is to the dollar,” she added.

She spoke before talks in Washington to be launched by Secretary of State John Kerry and which will focus on Nigeria’s economy, security and development.

Buhari is slated to depart for Washington D.C. today for the fourth Nuclear Security Summit. He will be expected to hold bilateral talks with U.S. officials on the sidelines of the summit.

Nigeria faces its worst economic crisis in decades as the falling price of oil has slashed revenues, prompting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to peg the currency and introduce curbs to protect foreign exchange reserves, which have fallen to an 11-year low.

Some members of central bank Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) have said the naira should be devalued.
Thomas-Greenfield said the parallel currency market in Nigeria was “alive and well”, warning that a rigid exchange rate, capital controls and import bans could undermine Buhari’s efforts to expand economic growth and fight corruption. Buhari has rejected the idea of devaluing the naira.

“Capital controls that limit access to foreign exchange rewards insiders and undermines the stated goals of Nigeria to increase domestic production because, both Nigerian and expat investors alike, tell us many businesses are unable to obtain the capital to purchase badly needed intermediate goods,” she said.

The naira trades some 40 per cent below the official rate on the black market versus the dollar. The central bank last year pegged the exchange rate to curb speculative demand for the dollar and conserve foreign exchange reserves after it restricted access to hard currency for imports of certain items, frustrating businesses.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on Nigeria to lift the curbs and let the naira reflect market forces more closely, as the restrictions have significantly affected the private sector.

  • Daniel Obior

    More to and fro on a monumentally flawed Buhari budget.
    Excuses, excuses and more excuses. Yet time is moving on and people are suffering.
    What a change agenda!

  • vic

    THIS WOMAN IS WRONG:

    1. BAN ON GOODS WHICH NIGERIA CAN PRODUCE LOCALLY SHOULD STAY IN FORCE AND SOME MORE ITEMS ADDED TO IT.

    2. NAIRA SHOULD NOT BE DEVALUED OFFICIALLY.

    BOTH OF THE ABOVE ARE TO THE ADVANTAGE OF NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS IN THE LONG RUN AND OF COURSE, OF DISADVANTAGE TO THE USA AND THE WESTERN COUNTRIES BECAUSE THEY GAIN TREMENDOUSLY FROM EXPORTING THEIR GOODS AND SERVICES TO NIGERIA IN A VERY IMBALANCED WAY. THIS SKEW TRADING RELATIONSHIP WITH USA AND INDEED WITH ANY OTHER COUNTRY, CANNOT STAY, STATUS QUO.
    BUHARI SHOULD POINT BLANK REFUSE IT AND NOT FALL INTO THEIR TRAP.

    IF I MAY ASK, IS THERE ANY TIME USA AND THE WEST HAVE EVER WORKED FOR THE UPLIFT OF ECONOMIES OF ANY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES??? THEY ARE JUST INTERESTED IN EXPORTING ALL JUNK GOODS INTO NIGERIA TO THE ECONOMIC DISADVANTAGE AND DESTRUCTION OF NIGERIA. THOSE DAYS ARE NOW OVER SO FAR NIGERIA IS CONCERNED. THERE HAS TO BE NEW WORLD ORDER FOR THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE TO BE OF DIRECT BENEFIT AND ECONOMIC RELEVANCE TO NIGERIA NOT FOR THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC INTEREST OF THE USA AND THE WEST??? DOES USA IMPORT THOSE ITEMS WHICH IT PRODUCES LOCALLY IN ABUNDANCE??? NO! THEN WHY NIGERIA??????? SO, USA, STOP PRACTISING HYPOCRISY AND DOUBLE STANDARDS. DO YOU GET ME??????????????????????

  • vic

    BUHARI CAME AS A MENTALLY HANDICAPPED PERSON TO START WITH, FROM HIS DAURA VILLAGE, MOST NIGERIANS ARE NOT SURPRISED THAT HE IS INDEED HANDICAPPED IN GIVING ACCENT TO THE 2016 BUDGET. THIS DAURA BEGGAR WILL GIVE ACCENT TO THE BUDGET DAURA STYLE, MEANWHILE HE IS REDUCING NIGERIA INTO A REAL BEGGAR COUNTRY THROUGH HIS CONTINUED BEGGARLY POSTURING.

    NIGERIANS VERY MUCH REMEMBER, HOW DEADWOOD BUHAR SLEPT FOR 3 MONTHS TO APPOINT MINISTERS?? HE IS AN INSENSITIVE FOOL RUNNING THE COUNTRY AS IF IT IS HIS DESERT RANCH OF GOATS AND COWS IN DAURA VILLAGE.

    BUHARI IS TURNING OUT TO BE A PRESIDENT WORST THAN CLUELESS JONATHAN WHO WAS KICKED OUT FROM ASO ROCK SUDDENLY AND UNCEREMONIOUSLY. BUHARI HAS MADE HIMSELF UNPOPULAR IN JUST 10 MONTHS OF HIS ARRIVAL AND WILL BE CERTAIN TO GET A BOOT FROM VOTERS IN 2019. HE HAS NOT GOT A HOPE IN THE HELL. HE IS ALSO CONDEMNING HIS OWN APC PARTY, THROUGH HIS INSENSITIVITY, LOUSINESS AND SNAIL SPEED. ABOVE ALL, BUHARI CANNOT BE TRUSTED ANYMORE ON ANYTHING. MOST NIGERIANS HAVE LOST THEIR HOPES AND FAITH IN HIM. HE TURNED OUT TO BE A DEADWOOD, COLD BLOODED BEAST OF NO CONSCIENCE AND A TOTALLY USELESS SELFISH ESTA CODE GLOBE TROTTER, QUITE IRRELEVANT TO THE NEEDS OF NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS.

    NIGEIANS ARE EXPECTING BUHARI TO OPEN A FEW ACCOUNTS IN THE USA WHILE THERE, IN USA DOLLARS TO HELP HIM DEPOSIT HIS ESTA CODE THERE IN THE FIRST INSTANCE AND THEN NIGERIAN TREASURY LOOT LATER ON WHEN HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN KICKED OUT. AFTER ALL, HIS CLUELESS DUMBO PREDECESSOR, JONATHAN, DID IT IN VERY LAST HOURS OF HIS DEPARTURE FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE.

    THEY ARE ALL CHIPS OF THE SAME ROTTEN BLOCK AND NIGERIA WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER.

  • vic

    BUHARI;S GOVERNMENT, A GOVERNMENT OF LIES, CHEATS AND DELAYS.

  • bigbang

    Nigeria should only devalue the currency to boost exports and to save the reserves. We are not exporting any goods in abundance apart from oil. Our reserves is going back up due to the rise of oil prices. What we should do is focus on demand and supply of dollars. Reduce demand and increase supply. Naira devaluation will not help the economy. The DSS and EFCC can fight corruption without having to devalue the Naira. We just have to monitor the speculators.