Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
All things being equal, the National Assembly will Friday in Abuja transmit the 2018 budget to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
Making this disclosure while answering questions from journalists at the Presidential Villa after breaking fast with the president last night, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said one week delay in transmitting the budget after it was passed on May 17, was caused by the necessity to harmonise both versions of the Appropriation Bill passed by both chambers of the National Assembly.
According to him, having passed the harmonised versions of the budget on Wednesday, the bill would finally be transmitted to the president today.
â€œI think that should have been done. We had to harmonise. Itâ€™s just a slight difference. It had been passed yesterday (Wednesday). It was in the rules and proceedings of today (yesterday). So, I am sure by tomorrow (today), we will transmit it to the Presidency,â€ Saraki said.
The N9.1trillion budget passed by the National Assembly on May 17 consists of N3.5 trillion as recurrent (non-debt) expenditure and N2.8 trillion capital expenditure.
The budget is N500 billion higher than the N8.6 trillion proposal presented to the National Assembly by Buhari in November, 2017.
The National Assembly also increased the oil benchmark proposed by the executive from $45 to $51 per barrel but retained oil production volume proposal at 2.3 million barrels per day and exchange rate at N305 to $1.
The budget as passed by the federal legislature also comprised N530,421,368,624 as statutory transfer; N2,203,835,365,699 for debt service; N1,954,464,993,775 as fiscal deficit which implies 1.73 per cent deficit to gross domestic product (GDP).