Thursday, June 21, 2018

Buhari blames NASS over cut on second Niger bridge, other strategic infrastructure - ITREALMS Online

President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the National Assembly (NASS) for some strategic cuts in the 2018 appropriation bill for the provision of national and regional infrastructure projects like the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project, reports ITRealms.
Revealing this Wednesday during the signing of the 2018 appropriation bill, Buhari lamented that an aggregated N11.5 billion was cut off the strategic infrastructure vote, just as the bill for provisions of some ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the FCT, Abuja especially major arterial roads and the mass transit rail project, were cut by a total of N7.5 billion.
Although he expressed thanks to the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as all the distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, for passing the 2018 Appropriation Bill, after seven months.
“When I submitted the 2018 budget proposals to the National Assembly on 7th November 2017, I had hoped that the usual legislative review process would be quick, so as to move Nigeria towards a predictable January-December financial year.  The importance of this predictability cannot be overemphasized,” he said.
Also, he noted that while the Federal Government’s budget represents less than 10 per cent of aggregate yearly expenditures in the economy, it has a very significant accelerator effect on the financial plans of other tiers of government, and even more importantly, the private sector, which mostly operates on a January-December financial year.  
For Mr. President, NASS is working towards improving the budgeting process and restoring our country to the January-December fiscal cycle, stressing that the National Assembly is working on the enactment of an Organic Budget Law, so as to improve the efficiency of the nation’s budgetary process.
“As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, we intend to use the 2018 Budget to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020,” President Buhari said.  
He further expressed concern over some of the changes that the National Assembly made to the budget proposals that was presented, insisting that 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.  
Buhari described as “Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me.  The National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
Lamenting that many of the projects cut were critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation as some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed, costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.
Furthermore, he pointed out that 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,” he maintained.
Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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