(News Investigators)/President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed into law the sum of N8.916 trillion being the 2019 Appropriation Bill.
Mr. Buhari signed the budget into law in the presence of the leadership of the National Assembly his office at the Presidential Villa.
The President who spoke shortly after the signing ceremony, however, said the changes introduced into by the National Assembly would affect its implementation, adding that there are areas in the budget where the legislators either increased and reduced some of the proposals.
“You will all recall that in December 2018, I presented our 2019 budget proposal with the theme “Budget of Continuity”, our goal was to use this budget to move the economy further on the path of inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth”
“Back then, I proposed a total expenditure of N8.83 trillion to the National Assembly for appropriation targeting strategic and impactful projects and initiatives”
“However, the 2019 Budget I will be signing into law today provides for aggregate expenditures of N8.92 trillion. This is an increase of N90.33 billion over our submission”.
According to him, “this increase reflects changes introduced by the National Assembly. In some areas, expenses we proposed were reduced while in other areas they were increased. There were also certain areas where new additions were introduced into the budget
“Of course, some of these changes will adversely impact our programs making it difficult for us to achieve the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“Although I will be signing this bill, it is my intention to continue to engage the National Assembly to ensure we deliver on our promises. I will therefore be engaging with the leadership of the ninth National Assembly, as soon as they emerge, to address some of our concerns with this Budget.
“We will also look at how to improve the budget process so that, amongst other things, we can speed up budget consideration processes and return the country to the January to December fiscal year timetable.
“I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, the Minister of Finance, the Budget Office of the Federation, and everyone who collaborated and worked painstakingly, to produce the 2019 Appropriation Bill I am signing today”, he added.
The joint chambers of the National Assembly had on April 30, this year passed the 2019 budget of N8.916 trillion, about N90 billion higher than the N8.826 trillion proposed by the president on December 19 last year when he presented the budget proposal before a joint session of the National Assembly.