NASS ‘smuggled in’ N578bn own projects into 2018 budget – Buhari
President Muhammmadu Buhari Wednesday on Wednesday lamented that lawmakers made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects he submitted for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
The National Assembly had on May 16 passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill, increasing the proposal of N8.612 trillion presented by President Buhari last December to N9.120 trillion.
While signing the budget at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Buhari noted that he had intended to use the fiscal document to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.
Buhari said he was concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly had made to the budget proposals he presented.
According to the president, “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.
“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.”
President Buhari emphasised that many of the projects cut were critical “and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.”
He explained that some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly had not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and would therefore be difficult to execute.
He also stated that many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly had 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.