Sen. Ita Enang

The Presidency on Wednesday allayed concerns that government operations and projects could be stalled due to the delay in passing the 2019 budget by the National Assembly.

It said there was money to spend till June, drawn from the 2018 Appropriation Act.

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“The budget has a 12-month cycle, which means counting from the date it was signed by Mr President.

“The 2018 budget is still running and the cycle will continue until June,” the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, said.

Buhari signed the 2018 Appropriation Act on June 20, 2018.

Enang stated this during a live interview with Channels Television on Politics Today, monitored by this news platform on Wednesday night.

The Senate on Tuesday passed N8.92tn as the 2019 budget with the figure slightly increased from President Muhammadu Buhari’s original proposal of N8.83tn presented to the National Assembly on December 18, 2018.

Asked how soon Buhari would sign the appropriation bill and whether he would delay it, Enang said by legislative procedure, the passage of the budget had yet to be completed.

He explained that the House of Representatives would have to pass the budget as well before a clean copy could be sent to Buhari for his assent.

Enang, who had chaired the Committee on Rules and Business in both chambers, noted that there was a possibility the House could pass the budget with some variations.

He added that if there were variations, the two chambers would have to harmonise the figures again before the National Assembly Clerk would send the final document to Buhari.

Enang stated further that as of Wednesday, there was no budget document on Buhari’s table.

He said, “Unless and until the budget (document) is on Mr President’s desk, there is nothing that can be done.

“It is only the Senate that passed it. The House of Representatives will still have to pass it.

“That is when we can begin to talk about Mr President. We have not got there yet.”