Friday, April 25, 2014

Signed 2013 budget not available to Nigerians yet

Published:

President Goodluck Jonathan laying the budget before the National Assembly in 2012

The Budget Office said the 2013 budget would be available next week.

jonathan_presenting_480502291

About 48 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan finally conceded to the National Assembly and signed the controversial 2013 Appropriation Bill into law, the budget has not been made public.

Apart from the terse statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Reuben Abati, late on Tuesday announcing the assent to the Bill by the President, nobody seems to know what the reconciled figures are as none of the agencies responsible for the budgeting processes in the country is yet to make them available to the public.

The document is yet to be published on the presidency’s website and also on those of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office.

The Senior Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance on Media, Paul Nwabuiku, did not answer calls to his phone on Thursday to respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ inquiries on the issue.

The Director General, Budget Office, Bright Okogwu, however said that the reconciled figures would be released officially next week after all the corrections must have been effected to the final document.

“The signed 2013 Appropriation Act is yet to be uploaded on our website,” Mr. Okogwu told PREMIUM TIMES on phone on Thursday. “We need to ensure that all the corrections that followed the discussions by various stakeholders are effected before it is released. A statement has already been issued by the Presidency on the assent by the President. The Minister (of Finance) and myself will be having a detailed briefing with the media on the budget next week.”

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the approved figures in the Act are not significantly different from the N4.95 trillion the National Assembly sent to the President last December for assent.

Though the Senate Spokesman, Enyinnanya Abaribe, said on Tuesday that all issues that caused the face-off between the executive and legislature were resolved during the various negotiations, indications were that the lawmakers refused to concede much grounds on the key points of appropriate crude oil price benchmark, padded allocations for constituency projects and zero allocation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A Presidency source, who did not want his name in print, since he was not authorised to speak on the issue, hinted that the President is already considering sending a supplementary budget to the National Assembly for consideration to take care of the anticipated shortfall in the signed budget.

GTBank SME MarketHub campaign