Buhari Explains Decision to Sign 2023 Budget Despite Changes by National Assembly

Paschal Emeka, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the need for immediate implementation of the 2023 budget informed his decision to sign it, despite the hike of some budget figures and alterations by the National Assembly.

According to him, he signed the budget “to enable its implementation to commence without delay, considering the imminent transition process to another democratically elected government.”

Recall that President Buhari signed the 2023 budget of N21.8 trillion into law on Tuesday morning.

The budget was signed about six days after it was passed by the National Assembly.

Further recalled that the lawmakers increased the budget from N20.5 trillion as proposed by the president to N21.83 trillion, an increase of over N1.3 trillion.

The lawmakers also increased the Oil Benchmark Price from $70 to $75 while the daily oil production rate was pegged at 1.69 million per barrel and the exchange rate at N435 per dollar.

At the budget signing ceremony in Abuja, President Buhari noted that he has examined the changes made by the National Assembly to the proposed budget.

He also said the National Assembly introduced new projects into the 2023 budget proposal for which it has appropriated N770.72 billion. And increased the provisions made by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) by N58.55 billion.

He, however, said his decision to sign the budget as approved by the National Assembly is “to enable its implementation to commence without delay, considering the imminent transition process to another democratically elected government.”

He called on the Executive and the Legislature to rectify the amended fiscal framework for 2023 by the National Assembly which shows additional revenues of N765.79 billion, and an unfunded deficit of N553.46 billion.

”It is clear that the National Assembly and the executive need to capture some of the proposed additional revenue sources in the fiscal framework. This must be rectified.”

The President also directed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to engage with the Legislature to revisit some of the changes made to the Executive budget proposal.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was present at the signing, said it is the duty of the lawmakers to increase budgetary proposals where necessary.

“…It’s called separation of powers,” he told journalists.

“It behooves on the National Assembly, where it deems to adjust figures, either downwards or upwards. And that’s exactly what we have done.”

He argued that had the National Assembly approved the budget as proposed by the President, they would be tagged “rubber stamp.”

“…If you return the budget the exact way it is, you are called a rubber stamp. If you do what you’re supposed to do and adjust figures for the good of the country. You call it jacking up or inflation or padding.”

While he commended his colleagues for a job well done, he said all that was done was in the interest of Nigeria and the citizens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *