2012 budget: Presidency retains N4.749tr, as Mark, Tambuwal get revised budget
•N’Assembly set March deadline
Monday, February 20, 2012

Senate President, David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal have each received a copy of the revised N4.749 trillion 2012 budget from the presidency. The new budget got to the National Assembly leadership before the close of work last week, it was gathered.
Sources at the Senate Appropriation Committee told Daily Sun that the N4.749 trillion budget did not change substantially.

Rather than have an enlarged budget of more than N5 trillion, government looked within and effected cuts in some critical ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) like the Ministry of Works, etc.“The old figure was retained but most Ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) had their overheads and recurrent allocations cut drastically.”

Last week, coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala announced a N100 billion cut in the 2012 budget.
The minister explained that government has revised the budget by setting aside N656.3 billion as subsidy for petroleum products for 2012.

Daily Sun, however, gathered that President Goodluck Jonathan, through his National Assembly Special Adviser, Senator Joy Emodi, forwarded the new budget to Mark and Tambuwal with a revised oil benchmark.
The benchmark has been reviewed from the previously approved $70 to $75, with the “$5 gain added to the budget.”

In another instance, government has equally cancelled overheads and recurrent expenditure of some critical ministries. Those cuts were added to the subsidy funds being proposed for the new year  The revised budget got to the leadership of the National Assembly just before weekend. The budget estimates was adjusted, revised; it wasn’t withdrawn.

“At this stage, what is before the National Assembly is a draft budget. We don’t have a budget as it were. We only have estimates from the MDAs and with this new revision, the National Assembly will soon be ready with the new budget. “We are hoping that the new budget will be ready before the Senate goes on its annual retreat. As at the weekend, all the sub-committees in both chambers have concluded their budget defence before the respective Appropriation Committees.”

Meanwhile, the National Assembly might have set a March deadline for the passage of the new budget. Senate is scheduled to go on its annual retreat in the first week of March and its spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said the upper legislative house hopes to get the budget ready before going on the retreat.

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