All stage is set for President Muhammadu Buhari to present the 2019 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly.
According to a letter addressed to the Senate and House of Representatives, Mr Buhari is expected to lay the budget, expected to be a little below the 2018 budget of N9.1 trillion, at noon.
Already, the budget presentation has been preceded with drama with the ongoing four days warning strike by members of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria. The strike started on Monday.
The workers on Monday arrived early at the National Assembly blocking the main entrance and preventing the normal day’s activities.
The leadership of the National Assembly in a swift reaction asked officers of the Nigeria Police and State Security Services (SSS) to secure the legislative premises for Tuesday’s plenary.
With the police carrying out the order, plenaries held at both chambers on Tuesday but the workers still vowed to continue the strike.
President Buhari is also expected to address, in his speech, the issue of budget inflation which set the executive against the legislature in the 2018 budget process.
Security has been increased at the National Assembly premises while the lawmakers await the arrival of the president.
Follow the live updates of the budget presentation on this page.
11:17: Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s procession arrives chamber, about to start usual business on the order paper.
The House of Representatives adopts a motion to admit senators and Senate President Bukola Saraki into their chamber.
The motion was moved by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, and seconded by his deputy, Idris Wase.
Lawmakers have gone into a “5 minutes” executive session.
Some lawmakers have been seen with placards, possibly to protest during the budget presentation.
Sources said the executive session is to prevail on those aggrieved lawmakers to shelve the planned protest.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, accompanied by ministers of labour, budget and national planing, amongst others have just arrived the lobby.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are still in the Executive Session where journalists and other observers are not allowed.
It’s 12noon and the president is yet to arrive at the National Assembly complex.
The lawmakers are in an executive session and only members are allowed into the chamber.
Even the president’s aide on National Assembly, Ita Enang, who came with the copies of the budget in a green and white package was turned back from the door.
It also appears all is not well inside the chamber as one of the president’s loyalists, Gudaji Kazaure, came out and is heard speaking in Hausa saying “we will not allow anyone to embarrass the president”. He even rained curses.
He was pacified by another presidential aide, Kawu Sumaila, and he has returned into the chamber.
The executive session by House of Representatives members has ended.
Senators are now arriving the green chamber. They are being led by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Some lawmakers are now chanting protest songs: “freedom cometh by struggle, freedom come, by struggle by struggle, freedom come.”
A Rep member who was part of the executive session has told Premium Times that “Speaker Dogara was almost on his knees begging House members not to embarrass the President when he arrives.”
Some members loyal to the president are forcefully collecting placards from fellow members which has led to a fight among some of the members.
Fighting erupts as Kano APC lawmaker, Bashir Baballe, shreds placard collected from Diri Douye (Bayelsa, PDP).
The situation was brought under control by colleagues who intervened.
Senators have now taken the stage as Godswill Akpabio and Sam Anyawu abuse each other.
Buhari arrived the chamber amidst cheers and protests by lawmakers.
President Buhari arrives the green chamber at about 12:40 p.m. amidst applause from supporters and freedom songs from the opposition.
Meanwhile, the shouts of ‘Sai Baba’ to welcome the arrival of the president has drowned the chants of anti-Buhari supporters.
The National Anthem is on.
Senator Ajayi Borrofice said the Christian opening prayer amidst some decorum.
Senate President now invites President Buhari to address the joint session.
This being my last budget to the 8th national assembly, the president says, I will review economic developments of the last three years, with particular reference to 2018.
The last three and half years have been challenging both at home and abroad, he said
The economy has recovered from recession, the president said, to which some lawmakers chanted of No, No.
We have done more work with less resources in agriculture, and social investment – Buhari
Mr Buhari said sustained development has been difficult with the current state of insecurity in the country.
Meanwhile, his speech is being intermittently cut by boos as lawmakers chant ‘lies’ ‘no.’
May I appeal to the Honourable members that the world is watching us and we are supposed to be above this – Buhari
He said the federal govt and the National Economic Council are working to forestall the lingering farmers/herders crisis.
Mr Buhari saluted the armed forces for their service in battling insurgency in the north-east.
Mr Buhari said the Gross Domestic Product has increased from 1.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 to 1.81 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.
He said the foreign reserve has increased from $20.57 billion in May 2016 to $42.92 billion in December 2018.
He said inflation rate has dropped to 11.28 per cent in November 2018 from 18.72 in January 2017.
These, he said, have contributed to exchange rate stability.
“We simply prioritised the completion of ongoing projects over introduction of new ones” – Buhari
Mr Buhari said over a hundred of these projects have been completed.
In every state in Nigeria, today there is a major road under construction – Buhari
“In the railway sector, we completed the Abuja-Kaduna rail line and the Abuja metropolis rail line. The Ajaokuta-Itakpe and Lagos-Kano rail line are on course. A significant progress has been made on the Lagos-Ibadan part of the project.” – Buhari
Mr Buhari said his government has awarded the contract to dualise the Mokwa-Jebba road.
The president went ahead to state other road projects his government is working on.
On power, Mr President said a good number of projects are ongoing in the country.
As a government, we took a long term view of tracking the effect of climate change. In the last two years, we have planted over 2.3 billion seedlings in 21 states – Buhari
Mr President says half a million graduates have been employed under the N-power scheme.
He said over 297,000 people from 26 states are benefiting from the conditional fund transfer programme of the government.
All recovered looted assets will be liquidated to help in funding the 2019 budget.
In order to put to use for benefit of all Nigerians, monies and assets stolen from public treasury, the 2019 budget created a revenue line for monies recovered. – Buhari
Of the N9.2 trillion budgeted in 2018, N4.59 trillion has been spent as at September 30 as against the N6.84 trilion target. Other items not actualised in the budget have been rolled over to 2019, he says.
The 2019 budget has been prepared on the following assumptions:
$60 per barrel of oil
2.3 million barrels per day
N305 to $1 exchange rate
Real GDP growth of 3.01 per cent
Inflation rate of 9.98 per cent
On subsidy, Mr Buhari said it was abused in the past but his government has made NNPC the sole importer and now, the under recovery is from NNPC account while false claim by marketers is removed.
A total of N8.83 trillion is proposed as 2019 budget – Buhari
Recurrent – N4.04 trillion
Debt service – N2.14 trillion
Statutory transfer – N492.36 billion
Sinking fund – N120 billion
Capital expenditure – N2.031 trillion
I have directed that all MDAs implement the IPPIS by March 2019 – Buhari
I am committed to the minimum wage. I will be sending a bill to you on this. – Buhari
Mr Buhari said he will set up a technical committee to advise on how to fund the new minimum wage without extra borrowing.
Going into the budget, Mr Buhari said N65 billion has been set aside for the Amnesty Programme in the 2019 budget, N45 billion for the North-east intervention fund and N10 billion take off capital for the North East Development Commission.
He said N15 billion has been set aside for the recapitalisatoon of the Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry while N10 billion has been provided for SMSEs.
Every child counts; this is the guiding principle of our nation’s educational system – Buhari
We will be establishing a health care system that prioritises the primary health care – Buhari
Mr President said the budget was prepared after wide consultation.
He urged the lawmakers to expedite passage of the budget despite their pr
preoccupation with election activities.
He has ended his speech and now lays the budget.
While the president presented the budget, chants by pro and anti-Buhari supporters continue in the chamber.
Some of the anti-Buhari lawmakers raised placards in protest.