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National Assembly raises Budget 2020 by N260 billion

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IN a record time, the National Assembly on Thursday passed the 2020 budget 59 days after it was laid before them by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The passage of the estimate is the fastest since the return of democratic government in 1999.

The country will next year return to the January to December budget cycle.

The N10.594 trillion outlay passed by both wings of the parliament, is N264 billion higher than the estimate presented by President Buhari.

A breakdown of the document indicates that Capital budget for the Ministries of Work and Housing, Health, Education, Water Resources and the National Assembly was increased, while that of Transportation was reduced.

The Presidency, Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Power as well as Solid Mineral Development among others also had their estimates increased.

Capital budget for the Ministry of Police Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, was however reduced by the lawmakers.  They also  reduced the recurrent estimates of the Ministries of Education and  Health.

While the President submitted a budget estimate of N259.201 billion to the lawmakers for Works and Housing, the lawmakers increased it to N315.563 billion.   Health and Education have  capital votes of N59.909 billion and N84.78 billion respectively as against an estimate of N46.477 billion and N50.946 billion..

The capital budget for the Presidency was increased from N12.183 billion to N19.031 billion while that of the National Assembly was increased from N125 billion to N128 billion.

The budget estimate for the Ministries of Transportation was    reduced from N123.069 billion to N121.366. Water Resources and Power got N91.679 billion and N129.082 billion respectively.

The lawmakers also approved a reduction in the recurrent estimate of the Ministry of Education from N601.992 billion to N490.303 billion , while that of Health was reduced from N380.820 billion to N336.597 billion.

The recurrent estimates of the Presidency increased slightly from N46.62 billion  to N46.562 billion. That of the Ministry of Defence also rose  slightly from N778.589billion  to N784.589billion.

The passage of the 2020 budget followed a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriation at the seating of both chambers yesterday.

The appropriation committees had on Wednesday laid the report of the budget before the various chambers for consideration in line with their resolve to pass the budget before the end of the year in other to return the country to a January to December budget circle.

Indications that both chambers may have passed the same figure emerged earlier on Wednesday evening when printed copies of the appropriation document were being brought to the National Assembly for distribution to the lawmakers.

Giving a synopsis of the budget, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, said while the National Assembly maintained a crude oil production of 2.18mbpd, it increased the oil benchmark from $55 to $57 and a growth rate of 2.93 per cent.

He said further that the lawmakers also retained the inflation rate of 10.81 per cent and an exchange rate of N305 to the dollar.

A breakdown of the budget indicates that statutory transfers stands at N560,470,827,235, while recurrent expenditure stands at N4.842 trillion. Capital expenditure  stands at  N2.465 trillion.

The nation is expected to spend about N2.725 trillion on debt servicing with local debt taking N1.732 trillion. Fiscal Deficit is estimated at N2.28 trillion with a deficit to GDP 1.52 per cent.

Senator Barau told his colleagues in the Senate that the committee adopted the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) as approved by the National Assembly.

He said the committee worked in tandem with the Executive in the consideration of the Bill especially in additional revenue projection to fund critical projects.

He said the increase  in the budget was to  allow for interventions in areas like national security, road infrastructure, mines and steel development, health, social needs among others.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Muktar Betara, said it was important that the committee worked in harmony with the Executive in the processing of the bill which ensured the collaboration of the two arms in the utilisation of additional revenue projections to fund the budget.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan commended his colleagues for the swift consideration and passage of the budget in a record time.

He said:“When we came in, all of us approved our legislative agenda, and one of the key pillars of this agenda is to take back our budget cycle from the very undesirable cycle.

“Today, we have been able to achieve this. It means where there is will, there is always a way. This is something that we have been able to achieve together with the House of Representatives. I must give members of the National Assembly the credit, because we thought it was going to be impossible. Let me also commend the buying-in of the executive arm of government. When we continued to preach that we have to receive the 2020 budget estimates before the end of September, it was not easy for the executive.

“I know they (Executive) worked day and night. So it was presented to us on the 8th of October. We have been able to work harmoniously. There is no way we can achieve this without all of us working together.

“I want to commend our colleagues from the opposition. This Senate from the beginning, we said, will be bi-partisan. You have given us all the support that we require, and indeed, this is the way it should be”, Lawan added.

He said the recent passage of what he described as landmark legislations such as the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act, Finance Bills and Public Procurement Bills by the National Assembly, the Executive arm of government is sufficiently empowered to ensure the successful implementation of the 2020 budget.

The breakdown of the passed budget  shows that N560,470,827,235 is for statutory transfers, N2,725,498,930,000 for Debt Servicing ; N4,842,974,600,640 for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure; and N2,465,418,006,955 for Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on December 31, 2020.

Capital Expenditure for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government  (MDAs) for the 2020 fiscal year are: Ministry of Defence N116,181,290,730; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N7,608,141,474; Ministry of Information and Culture, N7,555,803,233; Ministry of Interior, N34,035,825,302; Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, N1,722,796,040; Ministry of Police Affairs, N15,959,986,864; Ministry of Communication Technology, N5,919,002,554; and Office of the National Security Adviser, N27,418,469,323.

Others are: Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, N25,188,940,930; Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, N2,158,620,395; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N124,395,096,917; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, N4,976,199,925; Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, N38,583,331,761; Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, N24,445,756,678; Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, N62,882,531,566; Federal Ministry of Transport, N121,366,932,571; and Federal Ministry of Aviation, N52,061,533,122.

Also, for the 2020 fiscal year, the Ministry of Power has an allocation of N129,082,499,363; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, N3,337,444,887; Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, N10,431,563,177; Ministry of Works and Housing, N315,563,564,269; Ministry of Water Resources, N91,679,927,042; Ministry of Justice, N3,853,600,220; Federal Capital Territory Administration, N62,407,154,360; and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, N23,120,350,399.

Others include: Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, N3,735,486,210; Military of Women Affairs, N6,650,300,966; Federal Ministry of Education, N84,728,529,572; Ministry of Health, N59,909,430,837; Federal Ministry of Environment, N12,350,140,731; and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, N61,085,146,003.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) said the people of Nigeria will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the budget’s early passage.

The ruling party’s spokesman in a statement  Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu explained that the early passage of the bill will allow for the full implementation of many of the economic, infrastructural and social investment programmes contained in the budget.

The party commended the President for the prompt submission of the budget, and the two chambers of the National Assembly for placing national interest above any other consideration.


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