No decision yet on who’ll sign 2017 budget ―Lai Mohammed

•••says new ministers to be sworn-in "in due course"

THE Presidency is to take a decision on who signs the 2017 Appropriation Bill into law whenever the document is transmitted to it for accent, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, was expected to sign the document following the letter written by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly in compliance with Section 145 of the Nigerian Constitution apprising the legislature of his decision to proceed on medical leave.

However, when asked who would sign the budget while the minister was briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Mohammed said: “When it is transmitted to the Presidency that decision will be taken‎.”

He also revealed that an advanced copy of the passed budget was now in possession of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, which he said the executive would now study for any discrepancies from the original one transmitted to the National Assembly.

Asked whether the executive had received the passed 2017 budget, he said: “In respect on the budget, it was only this morning that the Minister of National Planning informed the council that the budget has been passed. He has not sent to us individually copies of the passed budget.

“We now need to look at it against what we sent and if there is any discrepancies, we will report back to the Minister of Budget and National Planning on harmonization.”

On the performance of the 2016 budget, Mohammed said about N1.2trillion was released for capital expenditure.

The minister was also asked why there was delay in the swearing in of new ministers cleared by the Senate about two weeks ago following their nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari in March.

In his response, he said: “I can assure you they will be sworn in due course.”

Those awaiting their swearing in are Mr Stephen Ocheni, who is from Kogi State, nominated to replace James Ocholi who died in an accident last year, and Suleiman Hassan from Gombe State, a replacement for Amina Mohammed who has joined the United Nations (UN) as its Deputy Secretary General.