President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday assented to the 2012 N4.697 trillion budget with the added warning that ministers avoid lobbying the National Assembly for an increase in monies allocated to ministries, agencies or departments, urging them instead to embrace “proper planning”.
In a statement delivered by the President, he said actions like that have led to budget distortions in the past and urged lawmakers to say no to lobbyists.
“Drive those who come to lobby away. I will use some people as an example,” Jonathan said, adding that government “cannot run a country without planning. We will not allow personal interest to distort the budget. There will be a better plan than this.”
In December 2011, the President had presented a 2012 budget proposal of N4.749 trillion based on a benchmark oil price of US$70 per barrel to the National Assembly, but the National Assembly on 15 March this year approved a N4.697 trillion budget based on a benchmark of US$72 per barrel.
“The Budget has an aggregate expenditure of N4.697 trillion (excluding the appropriation of N180 billion for programmes and projects encapsulated under the SURE-Progamme),” according to the President’s statement.
He said the budget will be put toward his administration’s goals of completing and exiting “the large stock of ongoing projects and programs”.
“Thus, the 2012 budget is focused on completing viable ongoing projects, in accordance with the Transformation Agenda, which will quickly deliver tangible and significant added value to Nigerians.”
He called for more cooperation from the National Assembly, with a promise to be more punctual with the 2013 budget.
“The year we have challenges, it was quite choking, but we will do better next year and I hope to present the next budget in September,” Jonathan said.
You can download the President’s budget signing speech here.