March 21, 2018 / 12:04 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Nigeria parliament aims to pass 2018 budget on April 24 after delays

(Adds detail, background)

ABUJA, March 21 (Reuters) - The Nigerian parliament aims to pass the country’s 2018 budget on April 24, lower house Speaker Yakubu Dogara said, following several months of delay.

President Muhammadu Buhari presented a 2018 budget of 8.612 trillion naira, the country’s biggest ever, to lawmakers in November and was targeting Jan. 1, 2018 for its passage.

But government agencies and department had been slow in defending their spending plan before lawmakers, which prompted the president to intervene.

Dogara said the budget would be laid out on April 19 and passed the following week. Both houses of parliament had agreed to the dates, he added.

Last year’s budget - passed in May 2017 - was delayed for months due to disagreements between lawmakers and the presidency, cutting the supply of government money and deepening an economic crisis. The budget was also delayed in 2016.

Nigeria’s upper house of parliament is set to decide on Wednesday whether to end a political stalemate and confirm Buhari’s nominations for members of the central bank’s interest rate-setting committee. This would pave the way for the committee’s first meeting since the beginning of the year. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Toby Chopra and David Stamp)

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