The Presidency has said it has yet to present the 2019 budget to the National Assembly because it is expecting the passage of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper by the legislature.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) Solomon Ita-Enag, stated this during an interview with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
He also denied that the Muhammadu Buhari administration was having the highest turnover of rejected bills.
According to him, the government has so far considered 100 bills in the last three and half years, insisting it is the highest record by any administration since 1999.
On the 2019 budget, Ita-Enang said arrangements had reached an advanced stage to transmit the national budget to the legislature.
He said, “When President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the 2019 budget, he had reservations, but after having understanding with the legislature, he sent in amendments and asked for virement.
“That (approval) is still being awaited; it has not been done. He (Buhari) has also sent in his requests for other funds for other agencies from virement, which is still pending.
“He sent in his requests for loan for the approval of external finances through Eurobond and other windows. That has just been approved few weeks ago. They (executive) are in the process of raising money to fund the budget.”
Ita-Enang explained that in presenting the 2019 budget, the executive would have to take into account the level of the implementation of the 2018 budget so that it would know how to project for next year’s budget.
He said, “The budget is almost ready. The president has transmitted to the National Assembly the request for the approval of the MTEF and the approval of the Fiscal Strategy Paper.
“It is the MTEF that set out the budget parameters for the benchmark of oil, the exchange rate, the money projected to realise from solid minerals, internal revenue from oil and borrowings.
“It is this that enables you to deal with budget projections. That document is pending before the legislature.
“Since the legislature is still working on the MTEF/FSP document, we are going to use the parameters that we used as the budget benchmark of oil, exchange rate, excess crude projection and other sources of revenue as submitted to prepare the budget.”
He added, “We will work with the legislature when they eventually pass the MTEF/FSP. That is where we are on the budget but every necessary step has been taken by the executive for the presentation of the document. The budget of 2018 will expire in June next year.”