The National Assembly on Thursday, passed the 2017 Appropriation Bill. The two chambers approved a total budget of N7,441,175,486,758.
The federal legislature also approved $44.50 as oil benchmark against $42.50 proposed by the executive.
A breakdown of the budget showed that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing received the lion’s share of N586,535,786,168, followed by the Federal Ministry of Transport with N256,519,103,581, the Federal Ministry of Education got N455,407,788,565 and the Federal Ministry of Health received N308,464,276,248.
A further breakdown shows an allocation of N1,663,885, 430, 449 for debt servicing and N177,460,296,707 as sinking fund to retire maturing loans, making a total of N1,841,345,727,206 for debt management.
Under the Service Wide Vote and Pensions, the Federal Government allocated N2, 599,702,192 for the benefits of retired Heads of the Civil Service of the Federation, this is while four billion naira was allocated for Treasury Single Account operations.
N2.5 billion was allocated to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
Allocation for the controversial zonal intervention projects for lawmakers, better known as constituency projects remained unchanged from 2016 at N100 billion. This is as the North-East intervention fund stayed at 45 billion. Both chambers of the National Assembly, raised their 2017 budget from N115 billion to N125 billion.
Prior to the passage of the budget in the Senate, senators had a closed door session, which lasted for over 45 minutes.
Full details of the closed door session could not be ascertained. It was however gathered that the N10 billion increment of its budget, dominated discussions during the closed door meeting.
After the passage of the budget, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki vowed that lawmakers will ensure that the budget is fully implemented by relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.
He also called on the executive arm to ensure early submission of budget. He gave between September and October.
Saraki said: “Let me thank in particular, the Appropriations committee and all the sub committees and members. This budget that we have passed, you can recall that it is the first. This is the first time we had a public hearing as part of the process for the 2017 Appropriations Act. The level of engagement and contributions of the civil society were encouraging.
“Another first we achieved is seeing that the line by line details of the budget were laid along with the bill. Again, this is a great achievement on the part of us and I commend you all.
“Another first we have achieved is making the budget of the National Assembly available to the public which has been an issue for a long time. I am very proud for what we have been able to achieve and we hope that this budget of recovery that we believe has reflected equity. It has ensured efficiency and adequate resources to all relevant sectors and will go a long way in helping Nigerians to come out of the economic recession and create growth.
“Lastly, we commend all Nigerians. We appreciate their patience and understanding to this point and we believe that the budget we have done this time will bring value to all of us. We have been able to move away from where we are in the past and we will continue in our service to ensure that the executive will see to the implementation of this budget. What we saw in 2016 is commendable on the part of the executive on implementation and we hope that they will build on that.
“And as for preparing for 2018, it is clear that the minimum of 3 to 4 months is required in order to be able to do a good process and that is why we are appealing to the executive to ensure that by end of September, the latest we can get the 2018 budget so that we can keep to December or January passage.”