Buhari: National assembly added N14.5bn to their own budget

President Muhammadu Buhari says members of the national assembly increased their own budget by N14.5 billion from N125 billion to N139.5 billion

In his budget signing speech on Wednesday, he said the lawmakers also added 6,403 projects of their own to the 2018 budget proposal sent to them.

He said the projects added by the national assembly have not been properly designed and will be difficult to execute.

“Another area of concern is the increase by the national assembly of the provisions for statutory transfers by an aggregate of N73.96 billion. Most of these increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time we are trying to keep down the cost of governance,” he said.

“An example of this increase is the budget of the national assembly itself which has increased by N14.5 billion, from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the executive.

“The national assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.

“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the national assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will, therefore, be difficult to execute.

“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the national assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.”

According to the president, some of the projects affected are Mambilla power plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail project whose budget were reduced by N11.5 billion.

The presidency had submitted a proposal worth N8.612 trillion to the national assembly, who later increased the budget size to N9.12 trillion.