The President’s accent comes seven months after he had presented the budget to National Assembly (NASS).
While signing the document President Buhari expressed concern over changes made in the budget proposal by NASS.
President Buhari expressed unhappiness that NASS increased the budget proposal from ₦8.612 trillion to ₦9.12 trillion after the Senate had increased the crude oil benchmark for the budget from $45 per barrel to $50.5 per barrel.
President Buhari also noted with concern that the National Assembly introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
He further said that the lawmakers made cuts amounting to ₦347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration; an action he said affected some of the critical infrastructure his government had projected for execution.
“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.
Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute,” the President remarked.
President Buhari also expressed dismay that NASS interfered with Statutory Transfers, increasing them by an aggregate of ₦73.96 billion.
According to him, most of the increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time when the administration is trying to keep down the cost of governance.
He said: “an example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself, increased by N14.5 billion from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the Executive.’’
The President, however, thanked the leadership of NASS, particularly the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Senators and members for passing the 2018 Appropriation Bill after seven months.
Mean while the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara were absent at the signing of the budget.
This is the first time, since the return of Democracy in 1999, that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are absent during the signing of the appropriation law; though it is not a law that the heads of the two chambers of the parliament must attend the ceremony.