NASS increased its budget to N139.5bn — Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday the N9.12 trillion 2018 Appropriation Bill into law, albeit grudgingly.

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The President, who was vexed by changes made to the budget proposal the executive submitted to the National Assembly last December, accused the latter of increasing its own budget from the initial N125 billion to N139.5 billion without consultation with the Executive.

In another case of feathering their nest, Buhari said the lawmakers cut down the amounts allocated to critical projects but smuggled in their personal projects.

According to him, “I am concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the budget proposals that I presented. The logic behind the Constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.

“Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.

“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

“As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the states and local governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.”

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