“I will ask you to leave” – President Jonathan threatens ministers as he approves N4.697 trillion budget

by Lekan Olanrewaju

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday approved the N4.697 trillion budget passed by the National Assembly and signed the 2012 Appropriation Bill into law.

The amount excludes the N180 billion earmarked for projects under the “SURE” Progamme.

He stated that the total federal government revenue forecast is N3.561 trillion based on a benchmark oil price of US$72 per barrel.

“You will recall that on December 13, 2011, I presented the 2012 Budget Proposal with a total expenditure of N4.749 trillion based on a benchmark oil price of US$70 per barrel to the National Assembly for appropriation.” he said. “A total of N1.32 trillion was proposed for capital expenditure while N3.429 trillion was for recurrent expenditure.  The initial 2012 Budget Proposal assumed full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. However, after listening to the voice of Nigerians, we opted for partial subsidy removal. This meant that we had to review the Budget’s revenue and expenditure projections in order to make some provision amounting to N888 billion in the Budget.”

Speaking in his office, he stated that any heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies going to canvass for more funds for his ministry after the budget had been passed would not be tolerated, as this would lead to distortions in the budget.

He also warned that any caught doing so would be “used as an example”.

“We need proper planning,” he said. “No lobbying.”

“Drive those who come to lobby away,” he continued. “I will use some people as an example. We cannot run a country without planning.”

“I will ask them to leave,” he said. “We cannot run a budget that is not based on planning because these figures don’t just come from the blues, people sat down and compute figures and see how it fits into fiscal responsibility and other issues. So we will not allow a situation where one person, because of personal interest will distort the budget of a nation.’’

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