PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF THE 2017 FEDERAL BUDGET AS APPROVED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Introduction

Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a Nigerian knowledge institution welcomes the approval of the 2017 federal budget by the National Assembly (NASS). This approval is coming 5 months after the estimates were submitted by the President on December 14, 2016. The late approval is not a best practice; neither is it worthy of replication. It provides the experience for NASS to say “never again” for late budget approval. A conscientious and hardworking NASS will not need more than 2 months to finish the consideration of the federal budget. It will amount to perpetuating abnormality if NASS also insists like it did in 2016, that the 2017 budget runs for 12 consecutive months.

On a good note, we welcome the decision of NASS to make the details of its budget available to Nigerians. We have always insisted that no one, agency or institution under a constitutional democracy had the right to spend public funds in a way and manner unknown to the public who hold the ultimate sovereign power.

  1. The Details

The approved budget is in the sum of N7.44 trillion being N143 billion higher than the estimates submitted by the President. This is N1.38 trillion higher than the sum approved in the 2016 Appropriation Act, being 22.76 percent increase over the 2016 approved sum. In United States Dollar terms, using the prevailing exchange rate of N380 to 1USD, the budget figure of N7.44 trillion is a paltry USD19.58 billion.

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