Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has signed the 2017 Appropriation Bill (also known as budget) into law late Monday.
The signing of the record 7.44 trillion naira ($23 billion) budget took place at the presidency in the presence of the heads of the legislature, the minister of budget planning, the finance minister and other top government officials.
Osinbajo had to accent to the document in the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari who is on medical leave in the United Kingdom. His second leave this year.
Buhari presented the budget to a joint sitting of the National Assembly in December 2016. It followed the launch in April 2017 of the National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP) which was meant to help Nigeria come out of recession.
The National Assembly passed the bill on May 11, 2017; but there was uncertainty as to who would sign it. The presidency said Osinbajo – who Buhari officially handed over to before leaving for the UK, will sign it but it was later postponed till today.
Reuters reports that President Buhari issued a statement saying it was in the interest of the country for Osinbajo to sign the budget into law.
Last year’s budget which was passed in May 2016, was delayed for months due to disagreements between lawmakers and the presidency.
This further deepened the country’s recession now in its second year, brought on by low oil prices which have slashed government revenues, weakened the naira and caused chronic dollar shortages.