Nigeria’s parliament has approved a ₦7.4 trillion budget (about US$24 billion) for 2017, five months after President Muhammadu Buhari first presented the budget in December 2016. Given the tense political climate and the state of the economy, the approval has brought some relief and raised optimism about the government’s aim to pursue economic recovery.
The newly passed budget bill will be sent to the president for assent and there are hopes that it will be signed into law before the third quarter to mobilize funds for infrastructure spending and encourage investors. President Buhari is presently in the UK on indefinite sick leave, but Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is empowered by the constitution to stand in for him in this process should his sick leave linger.
Nevertheless, further delay would not be unusual: in 2010 for instance, then-Acting President Goodluck Jonathan withheld assent for three weeks due to a dispute with parliament over allocations. Implementation, on the other hand, will be subject to revenue inflow and political will, particularly in the midst of such uncertainty surrounding Buhari’s ill health and in the build up to the 2019 polls.
Written by Analyst Adedayo Ademuwagun (Lagos).
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