All is now set for President Muhammadu Buhari to present the 2018 budget proposals to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
The 2018 budget proposal presentation is scheduled to hold at 2pm., amid there are concerns over the poor implementation of this year’s estimates.
The N7.6 trillion 2017 budget, which commenced in June, has N2.17 trillion as capital votes, but so far only about N450 billion of the capital budget was released by government.
Only few ministries such as power, works, housing, defence, transport and agriculture have so far received funding.
For 2018, the Federal Government plans to spend about N8.6tn, an increase of about 15 per cent from the N7.44tn budgeted for the current year.
The figures were contained in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which Buhari had earlier sent to the National Assembly in compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
However, it was learnt that leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives were making last minute efforts to prevent drama during the presentation.
A source in the Senate told The Punch on Monday that both the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, held series of meetings with members of both chambers to douse the brewing tension since Buhari’s letter informing the lawmakers of the presentation last week.
The source added that some members of the House of Representatives specifically had made moves to prevent Buhari from laying the budget proposal today, while calling for postponement of the presentation.
The source said, “The President will present the budget on Tuesday (today) but there is an issue. Some members of the National Assembly, particularly in the House of Representatives, are against the presentation of a new budget proposal when the current one has not been implemented considerably.
“If you recall, there were protests in the House of Representatives when the President’s letter was read last week. The issue now is how to contain the aggrieved lawmakers so that they will not raise their grievances as Buhari presents the budget. Their grouse may be legitimate but we don’t want a situation where the session will record unpalatable drama or become rowdy.
“This is the reason why there have been series of meetings with caucuses in the chambers, including the one by the leaders, which will hold tonight (Monday). Again, it is most likely that there will be a closed-door session at the beginning of the plenary tomorrow; this is another way of preventing a crisis.”