By Ismaila Chafe,Abuja –
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma says President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to receive the 2018 budget a week after its passage by the National Assembly.
The minister confirmed this development when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister was earlier quoted to have said that President Muhammadu Buhari might not assent to the 2018 budget which was raised to N9.1 trillion by the National Assembly with additional N501 billion.
The senate increased the 2018 budget from N8.612 trillion as proposed by President Buhari to N9.12 trillion while the crude oil benchmark price of the budget was also increased from 45 dollars to 50.5 dollars.
Udoma, however, dismissed the media report, saying that he could only comment on the budget after examining it.
“We are yet to receive the budget. So it is impossible for anybody to have made a statement from the executive about budget until we actually receive the budget and go through the budget.
“So, any story you read in any newspaper cannot be correct because nobody in the executive is in a position until we examine the budget to make any statement about it.
“But once we get it (budget) we will work very, very quickly,’’ he said.
Udoma further disclosed that he updated the FEC that on the latest GDP report for the 1 st quarter of 2018 which was released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday.
He said the Council was impressed and encouraged by the report which showed a GDP growth rate of 1.95 per cent.
Also addressing the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting,the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, revealed that the Council ratified the Protocol to eliminate the illicit trade in Tobacco products.
Adewole explained that Nigeria was a party to the World Health Organization framework on Tobacco control, which the country signed the Protocol in 2004, and became operational in 2005.
He said the ratification would enable Nigeria control smuggling, and track tobacco marketing and raise taxes on the product.
“At today’s meeting Council ratified the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. As you might be aware Nigeria is a party to the WHO framework convention on tobacco control.
“What has happened now is that we have taken a step further by ratifying the protocol that we will control the illicit trade in tobacco.
“The beauty of this is that we now have a place once it is ratified and signed we will now be able control smuggling; we will be able to track tobacco marketing and we will able to raise taxes and minimize the adverse effects of tobacco directly and indirectly,’’ he said.
He said that 34 countries had so far ratified the protocol, and expressed the hope that by July 2, 40 countries would have ratified the protocol.