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I’m yet to get National Assembly nod on 2019 budget, says Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

•FEC okays $23 million for maritime security
•Minister resigns to become Nasarawa monarch

President Muhammadu Buhari says he is yet to get a date from the National Assembly for the presentation of the 2019 appropriation bill.The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja, explained that sequel to the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) approval at a special session last Friday, the president was ready to present the fiscal document to a joint session of the parliament.

Buhari had last week transmitted the budget proposals to the legislature, but the minister noted that the delay was due to the inability of the federal lawmakers to give their green light for the presentation.

Udoma, who was briefing State House Correspondents alongside his Information and Transportation counterparts, Lai Mohammed, and Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, after the end of the FEC meeting presided over by the president, said his boss was prepared for the exercise, insisting that the choice of date falls within the purview of the legislators. He said: “As you already know, the budget is ready. We are liaising with the National Assembly because they are to give us a date. If they say today, we will go.”

On the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Udoma said it grew at 1.81per cent in the third quarter of this year compared to the 1.5 per cent result of the preceding quarter.

Regarding claims that portfolio investors were skeptical of the country’s economic environment, the minister submitted that it was natural to be cautious while making investment decisions especially in periods of general elections. He, however, urged investors not be apprehensive about the coming polls, assuring them that the country remains a safe haven for businesses.

On his part, Amaechi said FEC approved $22.995 million for enhancement of security in the maritime sector.Also speaking, Mohammed pledged the president’s commitment to free, free and peaceful elections next year.Besides, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibrin, has resigned his appointment to take up a monarchial post in his home state of Nasarawa.

He told FEC that he had been named the 13th emir of Nasarawa, in Nasarawa Local Council of the state.In a statement, the president described the new first class traditional ruler as a “wise choice and worthy successor.”

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