Lai Mohammed Declines To Verify Acting President Osinbajo’s Authority To Sign 2017 Budget

Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has hinted that there is no decision yet on who will assent to the 2017 budget.

The government said such a decision would be taken when the document is transmitted to the Presidency.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

He was responding to a question on whether the budget will be signed by Osinbajo or taken to President Muhammadu Buhari in London where the latter is currently receiving a medical treatment.

The minister simply responded: “When it (the budget) is transmitted to the Presidency, that decision (on who to sign) will be taken‎.”

He said the budget which was passed last Thursday by the National Assembly had not been formally transmitted to the executive.

He, however, disclosed that the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, had received the advance copy.

Mohammed also stated that if there were any discrepancies in the budget presented and the one passed, the executive would report to Udoma for harmonisation.

He said: “In respect on the budget, it was only this morning that the Minister of National Planning informed the council that the budget has been passed. He has not sent to us individually, copies of the passed budget.

“We now need to look at it against what we sent, and if there is any discrepancies, we will report back to the Minister of Budget and National Planning on harmonization.”

On whether the National Assembly had transmitted the budget to executive, he said: “Not yet, but at least, the minister of budget and national planning‎ has gotten an advanced copy of what was passed and that is what we need to look at and compare to what we sent. It has not been transmitted officially to the Presidency.”

Mohammed also stated that Ministry of Budget and National Planning‎ would “make the implementation of the 2016 budget public. They have told us that about N1.2 trillion was released for capital.”