President Muhammadu Buhari has notified the National Assembly of his intention to present the 2017 Appropriation Bill to the legislature on December 14, 2016.
Buhari’s letter to the Assembly was read by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, during the plenary at the Senate on Tuesday.
The President, in the letter titled, ‘2017 budget proposal and plans to lead Nigeria out of recession,’ said he would also address a joint session of both chambers of the National Assembly on the efforts being made by his administration to bring the country out of recession.
The letter read, “I crave the kind indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 10:00hours on Wednesday, the 14th of December, 2016, to formally address a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2017 budget proposal and our plans to get the country out of recession.
“Please extend, Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest regards to the distinguished senators, as I look forward to addressing the joint session.”
It is however uncertain if the 2017 budget will be independent of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which has not been approved by the National Assembly.
President Buhari had sent the MTEF/FSP, which will form the basis for the national annual budget for the three years, to the National Assembly for legislative approval. It narrowly escaped being rejected the second time by the Senate on November 23.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly condemned the projections of the proposal in the document as unrealistic, even though it said the Presidency had set December 1 for the presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Bill to the legislature.
The senators, who took turns to criticise the new version of the MTEF/FSP as well as the officials who prepared the document during the day’s plenary, submitted that it should be sent back to the executive to include the “correct” figures showing the true state of the economy.
The MTEF/FSP, had earlier been rejected by the Senate over the failure by the executive to include some critical details in the document.
The Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, had described the first version of the MTEF and FSP as “empty.”