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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Breaking: 21 things Acting President Osinbajo said after signing 2017 budget


Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on
Monday, June 12 signed the 2017
appropriation bill into law
- Osinbajo said details of the budget will be
made available by the Honourable Minister
of Budget and National Planning
- The acting president said the 2017 Budget,
which he signed into law, is christened
“Budget of Economic Recovery and
Growth”
Nigeria's acting president, Yemi
Osinbajo, on Monday, June 12, finally
signed the 2 017 appropriation budget
into law after month s of delay.
gathered that those present at
the signing of the budget were Bukola
Saraki, president of the Senate, his
counterpart in the Federal House of
Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and a
host of other top government officials.
After signing the 2017 budget, Osinbajo
addressed Nigerians on how he feels
after signing the document.
Below are 21 key things he said after
assenting the budget:
1. A few minutes ago, I signed the 2017
Appropriations Bill into law. This is an
important milestone in our economic
recovery and Growth plan laid in April
by President Muhammadu Buhari. I
would like to express my appreciation
to the Senate President, the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, as well as
the entire leadership and members of
the National Assembly for completing
work on the 2017 Appropriation Bill.
And I will return to this point presently.
Acting President Osinbajo surrounded by top
government officials as he signs the 2017
budget
2. The process of preparing and
processing this Bill was much smoother
than the 2016 Appropriations Bill. On
the executive side, there were no
allegations of errors, or mistakes, and
there was a significant improvement in
the quality of the preparation, as well
as the presentation.
3. I wish to commend the Ministry of
Budget and Planning for such a
remarkable improvement over a single
budget cycle. On the side of the National
Assembly, I wish to commend the
collaborative spirit of the engagements
our MDAs had with their various
committees, and with the leadership,
during the budget defence sessions.
There were far fewer reported cases of
acrimony, or hostile wrangling this year,
than in the past. From the reports we
received, the sessions were generally
conducted in a friendly atmosphere.
There is no doubt that our democracy is
maturing.
4. However, the final presentation and
the signing of the budget has been
considerably delayed. This was largely
due to disagreements we had about the
changes introduced to our 2017 Budget
proposals by the National Assembly.
The executive took the view that the
changes fundamentally affected some of
our priority programmes and would
make implementation extremely
difficult and in some cases impossible. I
must say that the entire leadership of
the National Assembly led by the Senate
President and the Speaker, adopted a
commendably patriotic and
statesmanlike approach to our
engagements on resolving these critical
issues.
5. In sum, the engagements yielded
acceptable results. The most important
being that the leadership of the National
Assembly has given us a commitment
that the National Assembly will re-
instate the budgetary allocations for all
the important executive projects, such
as the railway standard gauge projects,
the Mambilla Power Project, the Second
Niger Bridge, the Lagos – Ibadan
Expressway etc. which they had reduced
to fund some of the new projects they
introduced.
6. This re-instatement will be by way of
an application for virement by the
Executive which they have agreed will
be expeditiously considered and
approved by the National Assembly. It is
as a result of that understanding and
the outcome of our detailed
engagements that we feel able to sign
the 2017 Appropriations Bill into law
today.
7.I am also pleased to mention that, in
our discussions with the leadership of
the National Assembly, we have jointly
resolved to return to a predictable
January to December fiscal year. It is a
particularly important development
because this accords with the financial
year of most private sector companies,
underscoring the crucial relationship
between government and the private
sector.
8. Therefore, on the understanding that
we will be submitting the 2018 Budget
to the National Assembly by October
2017, the leadership of the National
Assembly has committed to working
towards the passage of the 2018 Budget
into law before the end of 2017. I must,
once more, express my appreciation to
the leadership of the National Assembly,
for the collaborative spirit in which
these discussions were conducted.
9. The 2017 Budget, which I have signed
into law today, is christened “Budget of
Economic Recovery and Growth” and
reflects our commitment to ensure
strong linkage between the medium-
term Economic Recovery and Growth
Plan (ERGP) recently launched by His
Excellency, President Muhammadu
Buhari and the annual budgets.
10. It is designed to bring the Nigerian
economy out of recession unto a path of
sustainable and inclusive growth. The
budget has a revenue projection of
N5.08 trillion and an aggregate
expenditure of N7.44 trillion. The
projected fiscal deficit of N2.36 trillion
is to be financed largely by borrowing.
11. Let me assure those who have
expressed concern about the growing
public debt that we are taking several
actions to grow government revenues as
well as plug revenue leakages. This is
because, notwithstanding the fact that
our borrowings are still within
sustainability limits, we are determined,
in the medium term, to reduce our
reliance on borrowings to finance our
expenditures. Details of the budget, as
approved by the National Assembly, will
be made available by the Honourable
Minister of Budget and National
Planning.
12. As you are all aware, our economy is
already signaling a gradual recovery as
growth is headed towards positive
territory. First quarter GDP, at -0.52%
compares favourably with -2.06% in the
first quarter of 2016.
Inflation is declining – down to 17.24%
from 18.74% as at May 2016. Our
external reserves are now US$30.28
billion as at June 8, 2017 up from US
$26.59 billion as at May 31, 2016.
13. We are also gradually instilling
confidence in our exchange rate regime.
This improvement in GDP growth and
other macro-economic indicators is
largely attributable to our strategic
implementation of the 2016 Budget as
well as stronger macroeconomic
management and policy coordination.
14. I am confident that the 2017 Budget
will deliver positive economic growth
and prosperity – one that is self-
sustaining and inclusive. In this regard,
the 2017 budget will be implemented in
line with our Economic Recovery and
Growth Plan.
15. Over the 2017-2020 plan period, we
are focusing on five (5) key execution
priorities, namely:
a.Stabilizing the macroeconomic
environment
b. Agriculture and Food security
c. Energy sufficiency in power and
petroleum products
d. Improved transportation
infrastructure
e. Industrialization through support for
micro, small and medium-scale
enterprises (MSMEs).
16. The 2017 budget includes provisions
that reflect these priorities. To
demonstrate our commitment to
following through our Economic
Recovery and Growth Plan, the 2017
budget allocates over N2 trillion to
capital expenditure, principally
infrastructure.
For instance, we are committing over
N200 billion to improve transport
infrastructure such as roads and rail;
over N500 billion for investments in
works, power, and housing; and N46
billion for Special Economic Zone
Projects to be set up in each geopolitical
zone.
17. The signing of the budget today will
trigger activities in the domestic
economy which will lead to job creation
and more opportunities for
employment, especially for our youth.
And, as I indicated earlier, we will be
returning to the National Assembly to
seek upward adjustments by way of
virements in relation to a number of
critical projects which have received
inadequate provision in the budget just
passed by the National Assembly.
18. We acknowledge that government
alone cannot achieve the overarching
goal of delivering inclusive growth; that
is why the 2017 budget provides a lot of
opportunities for partnerships with the
private sector.
To help the private sector thrive, we are
determined to create an enabling
business environment. We are already
recording verifiable progress across
several areas ranging from a new Visa-
on-Arrival scheme to reforms at our
ports and regulatory agencies. The
Online business registration process has
reduced time required for business
registration from 10 to 2 days. It is
expected that the Executive Order on
transparency and efficiency in the
business environment will make it even
easier for investors to get the permits
and licenses they require for their
businesses.
19. Pursuant to our commitments to the
Open Government Partnership, we
recently issued an Executive Order that
will promote budget transparency,
accountability and efficiency. We want
to make the Federal budget work more
efficiently for the people.
Thus, beyond the huge provisions for
investments in critical infrastructure,
we have mandated Government
agencies to spend more of their budgets
on locally produced goods. This will
open more opportunities for job
creation with benefits for government
in form of tax revenues.
20. We are also working hard to
improve our revenue collection
efficiency so that we can achieve our
revenue projections. While we are
deploying technological tools to enhance
collections, the implementation of the
Treasury Single Account (TSA) will
continue to contribute significantly to
improving transparency and
accountability over government
revenues.
Our fight against corruption is yielding
positive results. Some of the recoveries
are included in the 2017 Budget which
will be expended on identifiable capital
projects.
21. Already, we are beginning to see
some improvement in the quality of
public expenditure. This is great
motivation for us to remain resolute in
our fight against corruption so that
economic prosperity is enjoyed by all
Nigerians.
Let me reiterate that the
implementation of our 2017 Budget will
bring added impetus to our ongoing
economic recovery. We will intensify
our economic diversification efforts in
our bid to expand opportunities for
wealth creation and employment,
thereby creating inclusive and
sustainable growth.
Our path to progress and abundance is
clear. The tools are in place and the
resilient, resourceful and hardworking
Nigerian people are set to go. I have no
doubt that by the grace of God, the
bleakness of recession is about to
witness the uplifting dawn of
abundance.

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