President Muhammadu Buhari has proposed a budget of N7.2 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year…
A source told our correspondent that the Federal Executive Council approved the 2017 Appropriation Bill yesterday during a six-hour meeting presided over by President Buhari.
“The budget estimate that will be laid before the National Assembly for the year 2017 is N7.2 trillion. This is what FEC approved,” the source hinted.
This is about 24 percent higher than the 2016 budget which is N6.06 trillion.
Budget and Planning Minister Udoma Udoma, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, confirmed that the council approved the 2017 budget proposal.
Udoma said the president would communicate the Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly; while the legislature would use its discretion to decide when it will be presented.
Meanwhile, the FEC yesterday said the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Sustainability Paper submitted by President Buhari was not empty.
The Senate had recently dismissed the document, describing it as empty and not worth considering.
Udoma said after extensive consultations with the private sector, the MTEF was very well prepared by experienced experts.
He said the estimates in the document at the time of its submission were bound to change due to the changes in the exchange rate.
But Udoma said yesterday that whenever the executive appeared before the National Assembly to defend the document, it would engage the legislators and explain each item.
“But the assumptions of that MTEF were assumptions which were true and correct as of the time it was prepared in August. Naturally, the estimates, every time you improve on your estimate based on the latest estimates, for instance one of the issues they raised was about the exchange rate; that we used 290 as the exchange rate, and that was the exchange rate of the time,” he said.
The minister also stated that the implementation of the 2016 budget had been affected by revenue shortfall. He, however, said the Federal Government had released N800 billion for capital projects and had paid 100 percent on personnel.