Nigeria : Yar’Adua to sign 2008 budget

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Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua will sign into law the country’s budget for 2008 on Monday, almost five months after he presented it to the National Assembly (Parliament), presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said Wednesday.

The decision to sign the budget will mark the end of a bitter feud between the executive and the legislature over the budget, the first to be prepared by Yar’Adua since assuming office 29 May 2007.

The President accuses the lawmakers of padding the budget and inserting clauses he considers unconstitutional.

While Yar’Adua submitted a budget of about 2.4 trillion naira, the bicameral legislature first raised it to about 2.9 trillion naira before it was forced to trim it to 2.7 trillion naira (117 naira=US$1).

Both sides had moved to the brink, with the legislature threatening to override the President’s refusal to sign the budget into law, before they decided to sort things out at a meeting in the capital city of Abuja Tuesday night.

The delay in approving the budget has attracted criticisms from the opposition as well as business groups, which said it would further worsen the plight of Nigerians who are already suffering under the yoke of insecurity, unemployment, poor power supply and decaying infrastructure.

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