The hope of an early signing of the 2016 Appropriation Bill into law dimmed on Saturday with President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to travel out of the country on Sunday.
Buhari will be away from the country for one week as he begins a working visit to the Peoples’ Republic of China.
According to a statement on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President is due back in the country at the weekend.
This is an indication that the budget may not be signed this week except in the unlikely event that he signs it outside the country.
The Senate and the House had passed a harmonised budget of N6.06tn on March 23.
The Appropriation Bill was forwarded to the Presidency within 24 hours of the passage by the National Assembly.
However, Buhari declined to sign the bill, insisting on seeing and reviewing the details ministry-by-ministry before appending his signature.
The details had since been made available to the President on Thursday.
An expanded session of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was held on Friday to review the details of the budget which the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, described as work in progress.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 10 ministers and some state governors will accompany the President on his visit to China.
According to Adesina, the ministers on the President’s entourage include those of Agriculture; Water Resources; Transportation; Defence; Power, Works and Housing; Industry, Trade and Investment; Federal Capital Territory; Science and Technology and Foreign Affairs.
According to the presidential spokesman Buhari’s trip to China is aimed at securing greater support from Beijing for the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure.
Adesina mentioned specific sectors such as power, roads, railways, aviation, water supply and housing as those that would receive special attention during the visit.