President Goodluck Jonathan will on Tuesday November 12 present the 2014 budget proposal before a joint session of the National Assembly.
The President conveyed a letter to the effect dated October 23 addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and read at plenary yesterday by Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha.
This is coming as the implementation of the 2013 budget is adjudged below expectation as recently revealed during the oversight visits by members of the National Assembly, especially those from the House of Representatives.
Jonathan's letter read in part: "I write to crave your kind indulgence to grant me the slot of 12:00 noon on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 to enable me formally address a Joint Session of the National Assembly on the 2014 Budget."
This year's budget presentation to the National Assembly is coming a bit late compared to that of last year which was done on October 10, 2012.
Last year, Jonathan proposed a N4.92 trillion budget but the lawmakers reviewed it up to N4.987 trillion, out of which N388.053 billion was for statutory transfers and N591.764 billion was for debt servicing, while N2.415 trillion was for recurrent, non-debt, expenditure. The balance of N1.591 trillion was appropriated for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending 31 December, 2013.
Jonathan had reduced the total amount by about N56.34 billion with the Ministry of Works having N25.53 billion reduction from the proposed N183.5 billion while Ministry of Power's initial N74.26 billion was reduced by N16.3 billion.
But after its passage by the National Assembly and Jonathan's assent to it, crisis began to unfold as the President made a volte-face by sending an amendment bill to the lawmakers on the budget.
At first, the lawmakers said they would not consider it saying it was against the law.
They later yielded to pressure and approved it on July 25 just before proceeding on their annual recess.
However, controversy is now brewing over the poor implementation of the budget after the lawmakers visited various ministries and departments.
The country's economy has been witnessing dwindling revenue shortfalls since the beginning of this year largely due to oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
There are growing concerns by economic experts that the country's economy faces serious challenges ahead.
Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu; Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla and a deputy governor in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mrs. Sara Omotunde Alade, stated yesterday that "Nigeria is not broke."
This was in response to National Assembly joint committees on finance deliberative meeting on the 2014-2016 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
"Nigeria is not broke. We may have cash flow problems from time to time but that does not translate to Nigeria being broke," Okogu stated.