The Acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo, has finally signed the 2017 national budget. He did this at the Presidential Villa Abuja in the late hours of Monday, June 12th 2017 in the presence of the principal officers of the National Assembly and other top government officials. The budget, called: ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth’, has a collective expenditure of N7.44tn and a revenue projection of N5.08tn. The proposed fiscal deficit of N2.36tn is to be financed mostly by borrowing.
Present to witness the signing of the budget were the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udomo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the Senate President of Nigeria, Bukola Saraki, some Ministers and other top government officials.
During the event, Prof. Osinbanjo stated that the signing of the budget was a milestone in the execution of the economic and growth plan programme instituted in April by President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, the process of putting the budget in place was smoother than of 2016 with no allegement of errors or whatsoever. “There were far few cases of acrimony unlike in the past. There is no doubt at all that our democracy is maturing very well,” these were his exact words.
Indeed, this is the first time in many years in the history of Nigeria that an Acting President would sign the national budget into law. It can be recalled that there were initial concerns whether President Buhari who is away for medical treatment in London will agree to the signing of the budget by the Acting President. However, the spokesperson of the Acting President, Laolu Akande, cleared the doubt on May 18, 2017 when he stated that Prof. Osinbanjo would sign the bill as soon as he is pleased with its content.