President Muhammadu Buhari says members of the national assembly added 6,403 projects of their own to the 2018 budget proposal sent to them.
In his budget signing speech, the president said the projects added by the national assembly have not been properly designed and will be difficult to execute.
“The national assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
While presenting the budget proposal before the lawmakers on November 7, 2017, President Buhari informed them that the objective of the executive was to use the Budget to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.
Although the lawmakers increased the proposal by N508 billion from N8.61 trillion to N9.12 trillion before passing it, they made cuts to some projects and introduced others which the President consider a setback to his plans.
“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the national assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will, therefore, be difficult to execute.
“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the national assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.”
The President is also worried about “an aggregate of N73 billion increase” the National Assembly made with regard to the provisions for statutory transfers.
“Most of these increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time we are trying to keep down the cost of governance,” he said.
“An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by 14.5 billion naira, from 125 billion naira to 139.5 billion naira without any discussion with the executive.”
According to the president, some of the projects affected are Mambilla power plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail project whose budget were reduced by N11.5 billion.
The presidency had submitted a proposal worth N8.612 trillion to the national assembly, who later increased the budget size to N9.12 trillion.