Delayed budget won’t affect projects –Presidency

The Presidency  on Wednesday  dismissed fears that government operations and projects could  be grounded due to the delay in  passing  the 2019 budget by the National Assembly.

It said there was money to spend till June, drawn from the 2018 Appropriation Act.

“The budget has a 12-month cycle, which means counting from the date it was signed by Mr President.

“The  2018 budget  is still running and the cycle will continue   until  June,” the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, said.

 Buhari  signed the 2018 Appropriation Act on June 20, 2018.

Enang  spoke  on a live interview with Channels Television on  Politics Today, monitored by our correspondent on Wednesday night.

The Senate on Tuesday passed N8.92tn as the 2019 budget.

The figure was  slightly upped from President Muhammadu Buhari’s original proposal of N8.83tn presented to the National Assembly on December 18, 2018.

Asked how soon Buhari would sign  the appropriation bill and whether he would delay it, Enang  said by legislative procedure, the passage of the budget had yet to be completed.

He explained that the House of Representatives would have to pass the budget as well before a clean copy could be  sent to  Buhari for his assent.

Enang , who had chaired the Committee on Rules and Business in both chambers, noted that there was a possibility the House could pass the budget with some variations.

He added that if there were variations, the two chambers would have to harmonise the figures again before  the National Assembly  Clerk would send the final document to Buhari.

 Enang stated further that as of Wednesday, there was no budget document on Buhari’s table.

He said, “Unless and until the budget (document)  is on Mr President’s desk, there is nothing that can be done.

“It is only the Senate that passed it. The House  of  Representatives  will still have to pass it.

 “That is when we can begin to talk about Mr President. We have not got there yet.”
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