President Goodluck Jonathan has finally signed the N4.987tn 2013 Appropriation Bill into law. This is coming after a long wait and plans by the National Assembly to override President Jonathan on the 2013 Budget.
However, he signed the budget in secret contrary to previous years when it was done in full public glare.
According to Punch, he signed the document in secret despite the fact that State House correspondents, who were earlier mobilised for the signing ceremony, were waiting at the lobby of his office.
Channels TV reports that President Jonathan was initially reluctant about assenting to the budget which was forwarded to him on January 14 following claims that the National Assembly increased the budget by moving allocations from Ministries, Departments and Agencies to fund constituency projects.
President Jonathan was also alleged to have, based on the promptings of a senior minister, insisted that corrections on the budget be made in details before his assent.
According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, the signing of the 2013 budget followed several consultations and an agreement between the Executive and the Legislature.
“President Jonathan wishes to reassure all Nigerians that the consultations have been in the best interest of the country, and in pursuit of understanding and mutual cooperation between both arms of government.
“As part of the understanding reached with its leadership, the observations of the executive arm of government about the Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly will be further considered by the National Assembly through legislative action, to ensure effective and smooth implementation of the 2013 Appropriation Act in all aspects.
“The administration remains fully committed to the positive transformation of the country, and effective and efficient service delivery for the benefit of all citizens.
“All Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government have, therefore, been directed to work very hard to ensure that all the services, projects and programmes contained in the budget are successfully delivered on schedule in spite of the slight delay in its enactment.”