Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has signed the 2017 appropriation bill into law on Monday, June 12, 2017, at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock.
He signed the bill at 4:40pm with Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Abba Kyari, all present at the signing ceremony.
Ever since President Buhari submitted the record 7.44 trillion naira budget to the National Assembly in December 2016, it has been dogged by a series of controversies.
It wasn’t until May 11, 2017 that both chambers of the National Assembly finally passed the bill and then issues started to arise over who would sign it into law.
President Buhari had embarked on a medical leave to London on May 7, and there were reports that he would still be the one to sign the document, despite Osinbajo already acting in his absence as the commander in chief.
Senior Special Assistant to Buhari on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, on Wednesday, May 17, said the budget would be signed by Buhari before Information Minister, Lai Mohammed was forced to deny it, saying that a decision was yet to be reached.
After Osinbajo cancelled a planned June 1 signing of the bill for undisclosed reasons, it fueled more speculations that the presidency was going to reject it.
In a statement issued on Saturday, June 3, Enang said the presidency is working within the constitutional time-frame required to process details of the budget.
He said, “There is no such plan by it to reject the 2017 budget passed by the National Assembly as alleged in some reports.
“The presidency can only assent to the budget or withhold assent as the case maybe.
“However, should there be areas needing input, the presidency would engage the leadership of the senate and house of representatives.
“As such, any report suggesting a rejection of the 2017 budget by the presidency is incorrect.”
The signing of the bill brings to an end a long drawn out process that’s taken six months to complete.
The signing of this appropriation bill has taken the longest to complete since as far back as 2011.
The 2011 budget was passed on March 25, 2011, while that of 2012 was passed on March 14 of that same year, while the 2013 budget was passed by lawmakers on December 20, 2012 and signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2013.
The 2014, 2015 and 2016 budgets were also signed in May of the respective years.
It will come as a relief to Nigerians that the bill has now been signed and can finally be implemented to arrest a failing economy that has caused growing tensions in the country.