Nigeria sends 2010 budget for parliament approval

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ABUJA, Tuesday (Reuters) – An aide to Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua lodged his 2010 budget plan with parliament on Tuesday, easing concerns the budget might be delayed by the president’s departure for a health check abroad.

Umaru Yar’Adua left for a medical check-up to Saudi Arabia late on Monday. It was not clear how long he would be away.

The spending plans for sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest economy were to have been presented by the president last week but that was blocked by a dispute over which chamber of parliament should host the presentation.

The president traditionally outlines the plans personally in front of parliament. Tuesday’s submission was handed to the head of the Senate and House of Representatives with a covering letter from the president but the details of the document were not immediately made public.

Yar’Adua is expected to seek approval to breach a 3 percent deficit target for the second year in a row, government sources have said.

The latest draft discussed with the cabinet last Wednesday suggested the president would propose aggregate spending of 4.07 trillion naira, a sharp rise which would push the country’s deficit to 4.87 percent of GDP, one source said.

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