-Warns Cabinet Members Against Lobbying
“DRIVE those who come to lobby away,” stated Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan earlier on Friday in his remarks at the signing of the 2012 Budget into law, in Abuja.
The president was expressing his disapproval of lobbying by his cabinet members, who go to the legislators at the National Assembly to influence budgetary allocation to ministries and agencies under their jurisdiction, leading to financial distortions.
Promising to come down hard against cabinet members who flout the rule, the president said that he “will use some people for example,” stressed that ““we cannot run a country without planning. We will not allow personal interest to distort the budget. There will be a better plan than this.”
The 2012 budget, a N4.749 trillion plan that the administration christened “a budget of fiscal consolidation, conclusive economic growth and job creation,” is based on a benchmark price of $72 a barrel of crude oil, Nigeria’s chief economic export that accounts for over 90 percent of the national revenue.
Further breakdown of the budget reveal that N1.34 trillion has been earmarked for capital expenditure with a recurrent expenditure of N3.35 trillion.
The budget signed by President Jonathan on Friday shows that the SURE program planned by the government on the platform of the fuel subsidy removal has been scrapped, which called for the National Assembly’s review of the benchmark price of crude from $70 dollar a barrel to $72 dollar a barrel.
The budget had an aggregate expenditure of N4.697 trillion.
The president acknowledged the constraints of the 2012 budget, promising that the next fiscal year will be better in terms of planning and execution.
According to the president, “This year we have challenges, it was quite choking but we will do better for next year and I hope to present the next budget in September.”
A few legislators were present at Friday’s signing ceremony, among which are a representative of Senate President Blah-Blah-Blah, Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe, alongside the Deputy Senate President Emeka Ihedioha.