It gives me great pleasure to sign into law today the 2023 Appropriation Bill, the eighth and final annual  budget of this Administration along with the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, principally to enable us to respond to the havoc which the recent nationwide floods did to our infrastructure and agriculture sectors.

I would like to sincerely thank the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and all the distinguished and honourable leaders and members of the National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and passage of the Appropriation Bill.

As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2023 Appropriation Bill, early passage of the budget proposal is critical to ensure effective delivery of our legacy projects, a smooth transition programme and effective take-off of the incoming Administration.

I appreciate the firm commitment of the 9th National Assembly to the restoration of a predictable January to December fiscal year, as well as the mutual understanding, collaboration and engagements between officials of the Executive and the Legislative arms of government. These have made the quick consideration and passage of our Fiscal bills possible over the last four years.

The Finance Bill 2022 includes measures necessary for the effective implementation of the 2023 Budget and the attainment of the various set objectives.

As you will recall, I laid the 2023 Appropriation Bill before the Joint Session of the National Assembly on 7th October, 2022, and forwarded the 2022 Finance Bill thereafter. I believe the next Administration will sustain the early presentation of the annual appropriation bill to the National Assembly to ensure its passage before the beginning of the fiscal year.

I firmly believe the next Administration will also sustain the current public financial management reform efforts, further improve the budgeting process, and particularly maintain the tradition of supporting  its Appropriation Bills with Finance Bills designed to facilitate their implementation. To sustain and institutionalize the gains of the reforms, we must expedite action and conclude work on the Organic Budget Law for it to become operational before the end of this Administration.

The 2023 Budget that I have the honour of signing into law today provides for aggregate expenditures of N21.83 trillion, an increase of N1.32 trillion over the initial Executive Proposal for a total expenditure of N20.51 trillion. As is customary, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will subsequently provide more details of the approved budget and the supporting 2022 Finance Act.

We have examined the changes made by the National Assembly to the 2023 Executive Budget proposal. The amended fiscal framework for 2023 as approved by the National Assembly shows  additional revenues of N765.79 billion, and an unfunded deficit of  N553.46 billion. It is clear that that National Assembly and the executive need to capture some of the proposed additional revenue sources in the fiscal framework. This must be rectified. I have also noted that the National Assembly introduced new projects into the 2023 budget proposal for which it has appropriated N770.72 billion. The National Assembly also increased the provisions made by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by N58.55 billion.

Nevertheless, considering the imminent transition process to another democratically elected government, I decided to sign the 2023 Appropriation Bill into law as passed by the National Assembly to enable its implementation to commence without delay. I have however directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to engage with the Legislature to revisit some of the changes made to the Executive budget proposal, and it is my hope that we will receive cooperation in this regard from the National Assembly.

I also urge the National Assembly to reconsider its position on my proposal to securitize the Federal Government’s outstanding Ways and Means balance at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). As I stated, the balance has accumulated over several years and represents funding provided by the CBN as lender of last resort to the government to enable it to meet obligations to lenders, as well as cover budgetary shortfalls in projected revenues and/or borrowings.

I have no intention to fetter the right of the National Assembly to interrogate the composition of this balance, which can still be done even after granting the requested approval. Failure to grant the securitization approval will however cost the government about N1.8 trillion in additional interest in 2023 given the differential between the applicable interest rates which is currently MPR plus 3% and the negotiated interest rate of 9% and a 40year repayment period on the securitised debt of the Ways and Means.

To ensure more effective  implementation of the 2022 capital Budget, we proposed and the National Assembly approved an extension of its validity date to 31st March, 2023. I would like to appreciate the cooperation of  the National Assembly on this.

The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will work towards early release of the 2023 capital votes to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies to commence the implementation of their capital projects early in support of our efforts to deliver key projects and public services as well as improve the living conditions of our people.

As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2023 Appropriation Bill, the Budget was developed to promote fiscal sustainability, macroeconomic stability and ensure smooth transition to the incoming Administration. The Budget was also designed to promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy. Adequate provisions have been made in the 2023 Budget for the successful conduct of the forth-coming general elections and the transition programme.

To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2023 Budget, we must achieve our revenue targets. MDAs and Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) must intensify their revenue mobilization efforts, including ensuring  that all taxable organizations and individuals  pay taxes due.

Relevant Agencies must sustain current efforts towards the realization of our crude oil production and export targets.

To augment available fiscal resources, MDAs are to accelerate the implementation of  Public Private Partnership initiatives, especially those designed to fast-track the pace of our infrastructural development.

This, being a deficit budget, the associated Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly. I count on the cooperation of the National Assembly for a speedy consideration and approval of the Plan.

Regrettably, the review of the Finance Bill 2022 as passed by the National Assembly is yet to be finalized. This is because some of the changes made by the National Assembly need to be reviewed by the relevant agencies of government. I urge that this should be done speedily to enable me to assent into law.

I thank the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, the Senior Special Assistants to the President (Senate and House of Representatives), the Office of the Chief of Staff, and everyone else who worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much towards producing the 2023 Appropriation Act that I am signing today.

These are challenging times worldwide. Let me conclude by expressing my deep appreciation to Almighty God for His Grace, and commend the continuing resilience, understanding and sacrifice of our people in the face of current economic challenges. As this Administration draws to a close, we will accelerate the implementation of critical measures aimed at further improving the Nigerian business environment, enhancing the welfare of our people and ensuring sustainable economic growth over the medium- to long-term.

I thank you distinguished and honourable members most sincerely for your attention.

May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *