Barring any unforeseen circumstances, President Muhammadu Buhari will today, Tuesday assent to the 2020 Appropriation Bill, a development that would return the country to the January-December budgetary circle.
The signing formalities would take place at the Presidential Villa by 3pm and the leadership of the National Assembly have already been invited to grace the event.
Among those that would personally grace the event would be the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.
As at Monday evening, a source within the National Assembly confirmed the information, saying, “We have a notice from the Presidency to be at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday to witness the signing of the budget. The date and time may change but I have it on good authority that the ceremony is billed for Tuesday.”
The Senate and the House of Representatives had on December 5, 2019, concurrently passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill, raising the total estimates from the proposed N10.33tn to about N10.6tn.
The National Assembly had put a clause in the bill that the budget should run from January 1, 2020, bringing Nigeria back to a January-December budget cycle.
Of the new total sum of N10,594,362,364,830, the parliament raised statutory transfers from the proposed N556.7bn to N560,470,827,235; raised debt service from N2.45tn to N2,725,498,930,000; reduced recurrent (non-debt) expenditure from N4.88tn to N4,842,974,600,640; and increased development fund for capital expenditure from N2.14tn to N2,465,418,006,955.
As part of the N264bn increment, the National Assembly raised its own budget from N125bn to N128bn.
Recall that Buhari and the 8th National Assembly had unending friction over the budget figures, most time accusing the legislative arm of government of budget padding and unnecessary doctoring of the fiscal appropriations to their advantage.