By Nse Anthony-Uko
ABUJA, (Sundiata Post) – The Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, finally passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill, after six months of consideration, having inflated estimated expenditure from N8.612 trillion to N9.12 trillion.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari on November 7 last year had presented an estimate of N8.612 trillion proposed 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly
The budget increase was the highest in six years since the 2012 increase of 6.2 per cent by the legislative arm of government under the Goodluck Jonathan led administration.
Several officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies have come to defend their 2018 appropriation bill.
The defence had been characterized with criticisms from the red chamber who lamented that some government officials failed to show up and those who came refused to return when told to make corrections.
On the 23rd of March, the upper legislative chamber instructed its standing committees to turn-in their reports on the appropriation bill.
Since then, the National Assembly had made promises in passing the budget but failed to meet up such deadlines.
However, the Senate has now passed a budget that was inflated by N500 billion to N9.12 trillion.
Whereas, President Buhari proposed the sum of N2.428 trillion as the capital budget, while the sum of N3.494 trillion was proposed for recurrent expenditure.
The President also proposed the sum of two hundred and twenty billion Naira (N220bn) as sinking fund and four hundred and fifty-six billion Naira (N456bn) as statutory transfers.
But in the passed budget, the lawmakers jacked the capital budget to N2.869 trillion, an increasel of over N400 billion.
The lawmakers also passed the sum of N3.516 trillion for recurrent expenditure in the 2018 budget. This translates to an increase of N22 billion.
The sum of N190 billion is enmarked for sinking fund for maturing loans while the statutory transfer has the sum of N530.4 billion.
In the same vein, the lawmakers proposed the sum of N2.2 trillion for servicing both local and foreign debts.