THE House of Representatives on Thursday passed the 2017 appropriation bill of N7.44 trillion.
This came just as the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara warned against alteration of the approved budget, saying that
It is expected that all members of standing committees must have signed their respective budget reports before they were accepted by the committee on Appropriations.
According to him, “No figure should therefore change. If there is any need for change, it has to come to the floor, to maintain the integrity of this government”.
The Speaker’s warning came after the passage of the budget clause by clause at the committee of supply as presented to it by the House Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Hon. Mustapha Bala Dawaki.
In the approved budget, recurrent (non debt) expenditure was N2.9 trillion while total capital expenditure was N2.1 trillion, the sum of N1.8 trillion was for debt service, N177 billion was for sinking fund for maturing bonds and sum of N434 billion for statutory transfers.
There was however an uproar in the House when recurrent (non debt) expenditure for the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF totalling N51.9 billion was mentioned for consideration.
The chairman Appropriation Committee, Hon Dawaki while giving an insight before the passage said that the committee was guided by the primary revenue parameters approved by the National Assembly, when it considered the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
He explained that Appropriation Committees of the National Assembly predicated the current budget on crude oil benchmark price of $44.50, as against the $$42.50 proposed by the executive, while the crude oil production projection, and the exchange were pegged at 2.2 million barrels per day, and N305 to a dollar, respectively as proposed.
From the approved budget under Capital expenditure, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing got highest share of N553 billion, Ministry of Transportation, N241 billion, Ministry of Defence, N139 billion, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development got N104 billion.
Speaking with newsmen, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Abdulrazak Namdas said that, the budget will soon be transmitted to the President for assent.
He added that this year’s budget was the first time the House would have to organise public hearing on the budget for stakeholders’ inputs their views.