2017 budget to be ready next month as presidency, National Assembly harmonise differences
Though the defense of the 2017 budget estimates are still ongoing at the National Assembly, the Budget Office of the Federation has declared that the fiscal plan will be passed and signed into law by the middle of March.
Also , the Budget Office has clarified that the implementation of the capital votes of the 2016 Budget which was extended to May this year by the National Assembly to allow for a 12 – month cycle of fiscal plan implementation would be extinguished as soon as the 2017 appropriation is passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the president.
These hints were dropped yesterday in Abuja at a press conference by the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze to clarify what he described as ‘misleading ‘ issues being raised on the pending 2017 plan by members of the public.
Akabueze said : “ Once the 2017 Budget proposal before the national Assembly is approved and assented to by Mr. President, which we expect should be before middle of next month, we shall extinguish the 2016 capital votes implementation and continue with the 2017 plan. There is nothing like implementing two fiscal budgets in the same year.
He explained that an organic law that would henceforth make it mandatory and binding on all the arms of governments to submit and pass the budgets not beyond certain calendar dates would be passed this year.
He said 2016 capital votes implementation has recorded about 70 per cent in spite of the late passage.
Meanwhile, the presidency and the leadership of the National Assembly have resolved key differences in the 2017 budget that threatens its early passage.
At a meeting between Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and the leadership of the National Assembly on Wednesday night, it was agreed that the budget should be structured in a manner that would give priority attention to all existing capital projects to avoid the problem of abandoned projects.
Senate sources revealed yesterday that the meeting frowned at the tradition of leaving out key projects in the budget only to take care of then later through extra-budgetary expenditure.
Accordingly, the consensus was that projects like the N6.9 billon Abuja airport rehabilitation which was not provided for in the 2017 budget should be captured in the capital aspect of the budget.