The two chambers of the National Assembly, yesterday, passed the 2018 budget totaling N9.120, 334,988,225. The budget is over N500 billion higher than the N8.612 trillion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint session of the Assembly last year. The Chairman, Senate Appropriation Committee, Danjuma Goje, said:”The increase was done after close consultation with the executive.”

In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki called for immediate implementation “so that our people will begin to benefit from the objective of the budget and the opportunities it offers.”House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara also urged the executive arm of government to ensure expeditious implementation of the budget.

The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing received N682,959,550,242; Ministry of Transportation, N251,420,000.000; Ministry of Defence, N157,715,439.613; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N149,198,139.0 37; Ministry of Water Resources, N147,199,614,645; and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, N105,156,176,854.Ministry of Education got N102,907,290,833; Ministry of Health, N86,482,848,198; Ministry of Environment, N17,492,955,833; and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, N58,082,611,977.

The Federal Government’s special intervention programme got N150,000,000,000; grants and donor funded projects, N169,919,791,292; and zonal intervention projects, N100,000,000. The National Assembly, the National Judicial Council, the Universal Basic Education and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) also got approval for statutory transfer worth N139,500,000,000; N109,063,630,546; and N81,882,555,891.

Nigerians, meanwhile, have been reacting to the passage of the budget. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Oluremi Tinubu, expressed concern over the low allocation to environment, saying the amount cannot tackle the Ogoni cleanup. She spoke at the fifth Impact Plan Retreat organised by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), yesterday, in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

The Registrar, Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), Dr. Chris Onalo, urged the government to compensate for the delay in passing the budget by releasing funds for infrastructural development of key areas of the economy. He said: “We have put in a lot of years to nurture our democratic principle and it is important that the legislature and the executive put aside any form of personality consideration. It is quite clear that Nigerians should not be denied any form of economic prosperity. Nowhere in the world will Nigeria be congratulated for a budget that should have been passed early enough in the interest of the country. Read more<<<<<

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