by Alexander O. Onukwue
Few weeks to the end of the 2016 Fiscal year, the 2017 Budget is yet to be assented to by the Executive, currently led by Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
The budget, which has been passed by the National Assembly, was due to be signed by the Acting President on the 1st of June before he embarked on his one-day working visit to Cross River State week. However, due to some grey areas which required further work, there was no announcement of a signature.
Due to the nature of these unmentioned grey areas, the length of time it could take to finally sign this budget is unknown, presenting a potential fiscal handicap to the country.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, “The Presidency is working within the constitutional time-frame required to process details of the 2017 budget passed by the National Assembly. There is no such plan by it to reject the 2017 budget passed by the National Assembly as alleged in some reports. The Presidency can only assent to the budget or withhold assent as the case may be”.
President Buhari presented the 2017 Budget on December 14, 2016, promising to revitalise the key sectors of the economy to stimulate growth that would take the country out of recession. Being the key instrument by which the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan will be implemented, it is imperative that the various heads of Government have the resources to take on the capital projects necessary to boost the economy.
Will it be done this week or will the President come back for the grey areas?