PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu, on Monday, signed the 2024 Appropriation Bill into law in keeping with his avowed commitment to maintaining a timeous, predictable, and efficient budget cycle.
President Tinubu assented to the bill in his office at the Presidential Villa State House, on Monday, shortly after returning to Abuja from Lagos.
Speaking at the signing of the bill, the President assured Nigerians that the implementation of the budget would be efficiently pursued and vigorously monitored.
He said, “Today is the first holiday on the calendar. Thank you very much I must say. When I presented budget on the November 29, 2023, I presented N27.5trn and left room and I called for expeditious treatment of the budget, the review, the passing, the debate and all that.
“Today we have a budget of N28.7trn with an increase of N1.2trn over the proposal that I submitted. I thank the National Assembly for this prompt review adjustment and auditing necessary. This is an evidence and a great testament to the excellent relationship between the executive and the legislature. We should keep it up.
“In my address then, I remarked that the budget is a budget of renewed hope. It is anchored on reducing the deficit and increasing capital expenditure particularly in our priority areas. The Approved 2024 budget that we just approved achieves both objectives. It contains a very good increase in the capital side, a reduction in recurrent expenditure and it brought down the deficit from 6.11% to 3.88%. That, to me, is an achievement.
“Then we can debate in the area of economic thinking. Whether capital expenditure and reduction in the current means what. It is subject of interpretation. It means a lot. It means where the hope is hanged in development and particularly human capital development.
“When you pay attention to education, health and road infrastructure you are resuscitating the economy and making sure that the ordinary people are carried along.
“Let me take one of it. While we take power and steel and other projects, one of the priority areas we just passed is the N100 billion provision for the feeding of school children. That is a stimulant that will encourage our school attendance and others.
I have been meeting with local governments at sub-national levels so that we can collaborate and jointly bring an all inclusive program that will help. Yes, I’m pleased with what you’ve done. With the judiciary and other areas.
“All other details will be mentioned in future.
“I cannot conclude my remark without saying that a budget is only as good at its implementation. We will implement this. I want to assure Nigerians that all the MDAs and our teams have been warned. That’s why we even take our time to separate economic planning from finance.
“MDAs must have regular report of the budgetary performance in the area that we put in place to help ordinary Nigerians.
“The goal is to promote efficiency, dedication, and accountability. If you can not do that, you may have to leave us to do the job on your behalf.
Signing the Appropriation Act today is a great honour because to me as a politician and head of state, there is no holiday.
“When I was campaigning for this job, I made a pledge that I will commit myself fully and I found team members particularly Wale Edun, Atiku Bagudu, the National Assembly leadership all of you.
“I know what today means to everybody and weeks before today when I brought the budget, it was like can we meet the first of January. Can we meet the end of December? All in question marks. You delivered sincerely.”
President Tinubu assured that all the institutional mechanisms shall be held to account in ensuring diligent implementation.
“All MDA’s have been directed to take responsibility and provide monthly Budget Performance Reports to the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, which in turn shall ensure the veracity of such.
“The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy shall hold regular reviews with the Economic Management Team and, in addition, I shall Chair periodic Economic Coordination Council meetings,” he said.
The top priorities of the 2024 budget of N28.7 trillion are defence and internal security, job creation,