Nigerian MPs submit budget to president, blame delay on government

Nigeria’s parliament on Wednesday submitted the long overdue 2016 budget bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for additional checks at his request, with lawmakers blaming delays on the government for its “sloppy” work on the bill.

Buhari withdrew his original budget bill in January because of an unrealistic oil price assumption and flaws in the draft. Lawmakers approved an amended proposal last month but only submitted highlights, rather than the whole document, to the president’s office.

This prompted Buhari to say he would only sign the bill after checking it “ministry by ministry”, and requested lawmakers to submit the document in its entirety.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, is facing its biggest crisis for years after oil revenues, which make up about 70 percent of national income, slumped along with global oil prices.

Abdulmuminu Jibrin, who chairs the budget committee in the lower house, told reporters late on Wednesday that the bill had been submitted the executive.

He later issued a joint statement with his counterpart from the upper house, Danjuma Goje, in which they said that “most of the figures simply did not just add up”.

The task of balancing projected revenue and spending was “made very difficult by the sloppy manner in which the 2016Appropriation Bill was prepared by the executive,” they said.

Last month the information minister said there was no rift between the executive and legislature on details of the budget.

Nigeria has said it wants to raise about $5 billion abroad to cover part of its 2016 budget deficit which could be as high as 3 trillion naira ($15 billion).

The president’s spokesman on Wednesday said Buhari will, during a visit to China next week, sign a deal for a loan to help fund infrastructure projects. He did not disclose the sum involved.

Nigeria has also said it wants to raise $1 billion from Eurobond investors, however no deal has been announced.