Members of the National Assembly converged at the House of Representatives Chamber for a Joint Session to receive President Muhammadu Buhari on the presentation and laying of 2018 Appropriation Bill.
The session presided over by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki commenced with a welcome remark by the Senate President.
Sen. Saraki welcomed President Buhari and members of the Executive and Judicial Team to the National Assembly. He commended Mr. President for personally presenting the 2018 Appropriation Bill and also expressed joy over the early presentation of the Money Bill in the month of November, first time ever.
The Senate President added that the 2018 Appropriation Bill would be a defining moment for the turnaround of the nation. He called for the blockage of all revenue leakages and stressed that MDAs that failed to submit their 2018 Appropriation Bills would be sanctioned. Sen. Saraki said that the nation’s borrowing plan must be targeted at meaningful projects that have direct bearing on the lives of Nigerians.
The Senate Presiding Officer noted that the 2018 budget must be anchored on made in Nigeria products, stressing that the 8th National Assembly stands firm for the economic revival of the nation through well informed legislation that would hasten the economic diversification of the country. He frowned at the current rate of rural/urban migration which he said must be addressed through employment generation and local investment.
Presenting the 2018 budget estimates, President Muhammadu Buhari thanked members of the
National Assembly and Nigerians for their prayers and unflinching support for his health and moving the country forward. He disclosed that the 2018 Budget is tagged “Budget of Consolidation” which will consolidate on the successes of previous budgets and added that 2018 is expected to be a year of better output.
The President stated that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the 2018 Appropriation Bill is predicated on 3.5%, Inflation rate of 12%, Sovereign Wealth Fund increased by $1 billion, Nigeria’s External Reserve improved to $34 billion and country is now 145th in the World Bank Real Business Global Ranking moving 24 places up from its previous position in the area of doing business with ease. While, 30.8% of the 2018 budget is allocated to capital projects.
President Buhari asserted that Nigeria’s tax collection ratio is one of the lowest in the world; which is not in tandem with the government’s diversification of the economy policy and as such, the government hopes to widen its tax drive. He added that the administration is clearing the backlog of local debts, while power generation has improved to 7, 000mgw but the distribution companies’ facilities can only distribute not more than 5, 000mgw and work is on to address this.
Accordingly, the total budget estimates for 2018 is pegged at N8.612 trillion out of which N2.65 trillion is for recurrent overhead cost (Non-debt) expenditure, N3.4 trillion is for recurrent expenditure while, N2.428 trillion is for capital expenditure, N305 is the budget exchange rate benchmark and 2.3 million barrel per day is pegged as the oil output of the budget.
Giving the Vote of Thanks, the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara thanked President Buhari and his entourage for the successful and timely presentation of the 2018 Appropriation Bill. He added that the success of the event is credited to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Barr. Sani Omolori and his team of Staff.
Hon. Dogara concluded by saying obeying the nation’s Appropriation laws maximizes the nation’s collective interest while the contrary does the otherwise.