In line with the desire of the present regime to restore the country’s budget to January-December cycle, the President, Muhammadu Buhari has indicated his preparedness to sign the 2021 Appropriation Bill into law on Thursday, barring last minute changes.
President Buhari signed the 2020 budget into law of December, 17, 2019 and he is desirous of sustaining the feat this year. Thursday on which the 2021 bill is expected to be signed into law is the last day in 2020.
The National Assembly had last Monday passed the N13.58tn budget for the next fiscal year and all things being equal, the President will sign the budget into law on Thursday. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu confirmed this on Tuesday evening. “It is not likely that the plan will change though,” the presidential aide said.
The usual process is that when budgets passed by the National Assembly are transmitted to the President, they are made available to ministers. The ministers will then scrutinise the document to ensure that what was returned was the same thing sent to the lawmakers.
A source in the Presidency who pleaded not to be named because he had not been authorised to speak on the matter said the budgets made available to the ministers. He is of the opinion that in going ahead to sign the document on Thursday, the President and his men might have resolved to send supplementary budget to the National Assembly to correct whatever discrepancies later discovered in the fiscal document.
The President had on October 8, laid the money bill before a joint session of the National Assembly. Last Monday, the National Assembly passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill, raising the total estimates from the proposed N13.08tn to N13.59tn. Thus, increasing the bill by over N500bn.
The Senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Appropriation had laid a harmonized report in the respective chambers as the National Assembly held special sessions mainly to pass the national budget ahead of the Christmas and New year break.
Out of the total sum of N13.59tn budgeted for 2021, N496.53bn is for statutory transfers; N3.32tn is for debt service; N5.64tn is for recurrent expenditure and the sum of N4.13 is for capital expenditure.
The statutory transfers totalling N496.53bn were approved. However, it was observed that the N125bn proposed for the National Assembly and its affiliates had been raised by N8.99bn.