by on November 7, 2017

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 lawmakers 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.

3.07pm: Buhari says the 2018 budget is based on the inflation rate of 12.5 percent.

LIVE UPDATES: Buhari arrives National Assembly, presents 2018 budget to joint session

3.05pm: Buhari causes mild drama when he says: “I would like to inform Nigerians that the whistle blowers line is till open.” He adds that he has giving instructions for further actions.

3.02pm: Buhari reviews the 2017 budget and its challenges.

2.58pm: Buhari noted that 2017 witnessed various disease outbreaks including monkeypox. He thanks those in the health sector for taking urgent actions. He also commends international community for assistance.

He says the government would remain focus and pleads with the National Assembly in this regard.

2.54pm: Buhari notes that the agric sector holds a lot of advantages to Nigeria. He says his government would consolidate on existing policies and come up with new ones to ensure that the sector becomes very strong.

LIVE UPDATES: Buhari arrives National Assembly, presents 2018 budget to joint session

He says his government would ensure food security and deal with anyone trying to sabotage the effort.

2.51pm: The president says the country recently received two locomotive trains to ease transportation along the Abuja-Kaduna axis. He adds that rail contracts had been awarded in the southern part of the country and that he hopes that his administration would commission it in 2018.

“Sometimes, doing the right thing takes time,” he says as he pleads with Nigerians for support.

2.48pm: Buhari mentions the challenge Nigerians are facing with the power sector and gives reasons why the situation persists. He also informs of what the government is doing to meet the challenges. He pleads with the citizens to bear with the government.

2.41pm: The president says his government inherited a huge debt in the area of infrastructure. while payments had been made in some areas, the government is looking at the others. He says so far, over 766 kilometers of roads had been handled as at 2017 and these cut across the country. He lists the roads.

2.37pm: Buhari says Nigeria’s tax to GDP level is one of the lowest in the world at 6 percent. He reveals what his government is doing to change this anomaly.

2.34pm: Buhari says external reserves had grown to $34 billion. This is part of his efforts to shore up the country’s economy. He also speaks on how his government reversed the trend of its pathetic state in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report. He expresses delight concerning this.

2.31pm: Buhari says despite the downturn in oil prices, the government implemented projects of over N1.2 trillion which is unprecedented. He said despite record low oil prices, the Sovereign Wealth Fund had been upgraded whereas this was not so in the last four years when oil price was above $100 per barrel.

2.29pm: He says the government is serious with the clean-up of Ogoni. He says the clean-up would be funded by international oil companies but that there is provision in the budget for oversight.

2.27pm: The president pleads with the National Assembly to continue to support his works. He says work is going in Ondo state to explore the bitumen to better the country.

He thanked the leadership of the Niger Delta for their support promising to remain committed to his promise. “We must all come together to resolve grievances through discussions and engagements,” he says.

2.23pm: Buhari says the 2018 budget will consolidate on previous budgets. He says 2017 budget was one of uncertainty. He says his belief has always been the quickest solution may not be the best solution to issues.

2.22pm: Buhari commences his address. He recognises Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the leadership of the National Assembly as well as APC chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun.

2.21pm: Saraki assures Buhari that the National Assembly will work with the team of the executive arm to ensure the budget is passed as well as implement it.

2.19pm: Saraki says each Nigerian wants to be part of the country’s economy adding that people must be able to feel this in various communities and not just the city centres alone.

2.17: Saraki warns against unnecessary borrowing saying such must be targeted at physical infrastructure and developmental agenda. He talked about the fear among students graduating in the country as there are no jobs. He pleads with the president to look at this area.

2.15pm: Saraki says the country cannot afford another recession. “We all must make sure that the budget is passed as early as possible.” He warns agencies that would delay defending their budgets saying they would be sanctioned.

2.13pm: Senate President Saraki welcomes Buhari to the joint session of the National Assembly. He expresses excitement that the president is at the National Assembly in person. He commends the National Economic Team. “We must work together to steer the ship of this country…we must grow our economy.”

2.11pm: A Muslim cleric takes the Islamic prayer session.
2.10pm: There is a mild drama as the man asked to open the Christian prayer session is taking too long. A clamour of ‘Amen’ fills the air, an indirect call on him to end the prayer.

2.04pm: Buhari arrives National Assembly for the presentation of the budget. The National Anthem being rendered. The president arrived with members of the Federal Executive Council, serving and past governors and top politicians.

2.01pm: The Senate has approved a motion to receive President Muhammadu Buhari to present the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

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