With only five months left in the year, the National Assembly has finally passed the amended 2013 Budget, a move for which President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed gratitude.
Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly, Senator Joy Emodi, described the passaged of the 2013 Appropriation Amendment Bill as a “triumph of constructive dialogue”.
Addressing the press in Abuja, Senator Emodi said: “I commend them for the eventual passing of the 2013 Appropriation (Amendment) Bill. This is indeed a boost for national development, as it will go a long way to keep the targets of the 2013 Budget on track and facilitate the actualization of the overall Transformation Agenda of this Administration.”
As the eight-month long battle over the 2013 budget comes to an end, it is important to note that there isn’t a significant difference between the approved amended budget and the budget which President Jonathan presented before the National Assembly on October 10, 2012.
The total budget passed by both chambers comes to N4.987 trillion (N4,987,220,425,601). Recurrent expenditure remains at N2.415 trillion and capital expenditure at N1.591 trillion.
The National Assembly, in their version of the 2013 budget submitted to the president’s office before the 2012 Christmas recess, had suggested budget cuts in wages, capital expenditure and the SURE-P program. The Presidency bulked against the cuts and so began the long-winded negotiations that proved unproductive and brought the nation’s budget right back to where it was at the start.
The National Assembly restored the budget cuts from the initially proposed budget.
Senator Emodi said the passage of the Appropriation Bill is a display of the “leadership qualities of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the leadership of the National Assembly. Both the Executive and the Legislature have proven, once again, that they are both on the side of the people, working for their common good, and national interest.”
She adds: “It underlines the virtue and virility of dialogue and cooperation in the management of executive-legislature relations in a presidential democracy.
“I feel highly justified by the passing of the amended 2013 Budget because against the tide of sweeping despair across the nation over the seeming intractable inter-governmental issues over gray areas in the Principal Appropriation Act 2013 and their rectification through this amended Budget,” Senator Emodi said.
Then came the promises of a more timely 2014 Appropriation Bill, which Emodi assured will be ready before the start of the new fiscal year.