Against all odds, Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has signed the 2013 Appropriation Bill into law, ahead of Wednesday deadline issued by the National Assembly to the President to accent to the document or be vetoed.
President Jonathan had presented a budget figure of N4.92 to a joint sitting of the two chambers of the National Assembly.
It was not however clear if the President signed the budget with the ‘gray areas’ or the areas of disagreement have been resolved by both parties.
The Presidency had earlier refused to sign into law the 2013 budget over what it described as ‘padding’ of the budget by the National Assembly.
The Presidency and NASS had been at loggerheads on a number of issues relating to the budget: Oil Benchmark,the Zero allocation to the Security and exchange Commission (SEC), constituency project and the additional N63billion that was inserted into the budget.
Meanwhile, a statement by Mr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President, said “Following consultations and an agreement between the Executive and the Legislature on the 2013 Appropriation Bill, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan tuesday signed the bill into law”.
“President Jonathan wishes to reassure all Nigerians that the consultations have been in the best interest of the country, and in pursuit of understanding and mutual cooperation between both arms of government”.
“As part of the understanding reached with its leadership, the observations of the executive arm of government about the Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly will be further considered by the National Assembly through legislative action, to ensure effective and smooth implementation of the 2013 Appropriation Act in all aspects”.
“All Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government have therefore been directed to work very hard to ensure that all the services, projects and programmes contained in the budget are successfully delivered on schedule in spite of the slight delay in its enactment”.
FrontiersNews gathered that after waiting patiently for the take-off of the ceremony with the arrival of key stakeholders like Senate President, David Mark, House Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Affairs, Joy Emordi, Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, DG, Budget Office, Dr Bright Okogu as well as Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsudeen Usman, newsmen were asked to leave the entrance to the President’s office.