The presidency has refuted reports that the 2017 budget remains unsigned because it was subtly waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to return from his trip to the United Kingdom.
It said the talks were misplaced since Buhari transmitted full presidential powers to acting President Yemi Osinbajo on May 7 before leaving the country.
There are speculations that the delay in signing the budget since its transmission by the National Assembly on May 19 was a deliberate ploy to ensure that Osinbajo does not assent to the Appropriation Bill.
But the delay in assent has raised fears because of the 30-day constitutional requirement for the assent of a bill after its transmission by the National Assembly to the executive. The duration expires June 18.
Reacting, a source in the presidency confided in Thisday on Sunday that “holding the nation down by delaying assent to the budget would be at variance with the president’s intention”.
The source said that Buhari does not want the nation to be held to ransom in anyway and hence his decision to transfer powers without reservation to Osinbajo.
He further expressed confidence that the budget “would be signed soon”.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has disclosed that the 2017 budget will be signed into law this week.
Dogara made this known on the floor of the House on Friday.
He also expressed delight that the House has kept to its promise to carry out a Budget reform that will ensure that the 2017 Appropriations Bill is processed in a transparent manner.
Dogara said, “On issue of Budget, we kept our promise to Nigerians at the beginning of the legislative session to ensure transparent deliberation and passage of the 2017 Appropriations Bill which will be signed into law early next week”.
The National Assembly had upon the passage of 2017 budget on May 11, raised the N7.2 trillion Appropriation Bill presented by Buhari last year to N7.4 trillion, with the appropriation document predicating sources of funding on oil revenue pegged at N1.985 trillion, non-oil revenue at N1.73 trillion, external and domestic borrowing, and other federal government independent revenue sources.