President Muhammadu Buhari is meeting with a joint session of the National Assembly for the presentation of the 2018 budget, a constitutional requirement in Nigeria.
Ahead of the president’s arrival, the House of Representatives is reportedly engaged in a closed-door session The meeting of the lawmakers followed an earlier secret session held by members of the Senate and presided over by Bukola Saraki with issues including the planned scuttling of the budget presentation dominating discussion, according to Daily Sun. Buhari is expected to present the budget by 2pm Reports say some members of the House of Representatives are not happy with the executive arm of government over the alleged non-release of funds for their constituency projects. Buhari’s letter informing the House of his intention to present the budget had earlier resulted in a rowdy session when it was read at plenary. 3.49pm: The joint session recites the national anthem to signify the close of the event. 3.46pm: Hon Garba Mohammed gives closing Muslim prayers while Senator Barnabas Gemade presents the Christian closing prayer.
3.44: Dogara thanks Buhari for moving Nigeria out of recession. He, however, laments that despite this status, many of the citizens still live in poverty which must be tackled.
3.41pm: Dogara pleads with the executive arm of government to run the government carrying along the legislators in the scheme of things.
3.35pm: Speaker Yakubu Dogara gives votes of thanks. He thank president Buhari for the way he is handling the economy of the country. He says it is unprecented to have Boss Mustapha, the new SGF visit the leadership of the National Assembly. 3.33pm: Buhari is hailed as he hands the budget over to the leadership of the joint session. 3.31pm: Buhari finally lays the budget of N8.6 trillion to the joint session. The budget is projected at an oil price of $45 per barrel and an estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day. He adds that the budget is further projected on an exchange rate of N305 to $1, a real Gross Domestic Growth of 3.5 per cent and inflation rate of 12.4 per cent.
3.25pm: The Niger Delta Amnesty programme is sustained in the 2018 budget as President Buhari says all projects in the region would be completed. He says attention is being given to the northeast ravaged by insurgency as well as other areas where cattle rustlers operate. 3.23pm: “We are truly interested in catering for the vulnerable,” Buhari says, adding that the government would continue with the school feeding programme as it creates jobs and supports small business. He christens the 2018 budget the ‘Budget of Consolidation’.