President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday signed the N4.987tn 2013 Appropriation Bill into law thereby putting an end to the bad blood between the Executive and the legislature over their differences on the budget.
The President, however, signed the budget in secret contrary to previous years when it was done in full public glare.
He signed the document in secret despite the fact that State House correspondents, who were earlier mobilised for the signing ceremony, were waiting at the lobby of his office.
Except for the period when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua was sick and members of his kitchen cabinet claimed that he signed the budget on his sick bed abroad, successive heads of government had been signing the fiscal document in the full glare of media representatives and some members of the public.
The event is usually witnessed by the leaders of the two arms of the National Assembly or their representatives.
The President’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, later issued a statement that Jonathan signed the budget after consultations and an agreement between the two arms of government.
Abati said in resolving the matter, Jonathan reached an understanding with leaders of the National Assembly that the observations of the Executive on the budget would be considered through legislative action.
The statement read, “Following consultations and an agreement between the Executive and the Legislature on the 2013 Appropriation Bill, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan today (Tuesday) signed the bill into law.
“President Jonathan wishes to reassure all Nigerians that the consultations have been in the best interest of the country and in pursuit of understanding and mutual cooperation between both arms of government.
“As part of the understanding reached with its leadership, the observations of the Executive arm of government about the Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly will be further considered by the National Assembly through legislative action, to ensure effective and smooth implementation of the 2013 Appropriation Act in all aspects.
“The administration remains fully committed to the positive transformation of the country, and effective and efficient service delivery for the benefit of all citizens.
“All ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government have, therefore, been directed to work very hard to ensure that all the services, projects and programmes contained in the budget are successfully delivered on schedule in spite of the slight delay in its enactment.”
A Presidency source, however, told our correspondent that the decision to sign the budget on Tuesday was hurriedly taken because the President did not want the document to remain unsigned till March.
He added that the move was also meant to stop the National Assembly from overriding the President’s veto on the document