Nigeria’s Buhari finally signs delayed 2018 budget

June 20, 2018
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said he was “concerned” about changes the National Assembly made to the proposals he first presented in November last year/AFP

, ABUJA, Nigeria, Jun 20 – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday signed the 2018 budget into law, more than six months after it was first presented to parliament.

Buhari approved the 9.1-trillion-naira ($25 billion, 22-billion-euro) spending plan, which is designed to boost economic growth after the country’s worst recession in over two decades.

He wrote on Twitter that he had signed it “in order not to further slowdown the pace of recovery of our economy, which has doubtlessly been affected by the delay in passing the budget”.

But he said he was “concerned” about some of the changes the National Assembly made to the proposals he first presented back in November last year.

“It is my intention to seek to remedy some of the most critical of these issues through a supplementary and/or amendment budget which I hope the National Assembly will be able to expeditiously consider,” he added.

Delays in passing government budgets have become a feature in Nigeria but experts said it had already done damage.

“The economy has been operating rather in a rudderless manner,” said economist Eze Onyekpere, from the Centre for Social Justice in Abuja.

Though the budget looks large, Nigeria does not always follow through on its capital expenditure plans, warned Razia Khan, Africa economist at Standard Chartered Bank, in a note.

“Through successive governments, this is where Nigeria’s record has been especially poor,” Khan said.

“There is no reason to assume this time around that all of the spending plans will necessarily be executed.”

Buhari, 75, is seeking a second term in office at elections scheduled for February next year.

Khan said the vote will also detract from efforts to diversify Nigeria’s economy away from its dependence on oil.

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