…returns budget cycle to January-December
The Senate, yesterday, passed N10.594 trillion 2020 budget, which is N264 billion higher than the N10.33 trillion presented to the joint session of the National Assembly on October 8, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate passed the Appropriation Bill following the consideration and adoption of the report of its Committee on Appropriations, laid before the Chamber on Wednesday.
The Senate, by this action, broke the record of passing the country’s annual budget in less than two months of its presentation by the President, being the first of its kind since the nation’s return to civil rule in 1999.
While presenting the report for approval, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Barau Jibrin, explained that the increase of N264 billion was made for interventions in critical areas such as national security, road infrastructure, mines and steel development, and health among others.
Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the Senate approved N10,594,362,364,830 as total budget for the 2020 fiscal year.
The breakdown shows that N560,470,827,235 is for statutory transfers, N2,725,498,930,000 for Debt Service; 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.
The apex legislative chamber further approved a fiscal deficit of N2.2 trillion and Deficit/Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1.52 per cent for the 2020 financial year.
Senator Jibrin also noted that the daily oil production stood at 2.18 million barrels per day while the oil benchmark was increased from $55 proposed by the Executive to $57 per barrel, and that the exchange rate remained N305 per dollar.
The Red Chamber also approved Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inflation rate of 2.93 per cent and 10.81 per cent respectively as recommended by the Appropriations Committee.
The expeditious passage of the money bill was the outcome of the resolve of the National Assembly to return the country’s budget cycle to January – December, for effective implementation.
According to the passed Bill, 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.
Furthermore, 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.
In his comment on the budget, Senator Bassey Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom) said that the executive arm would have no reason not to implement the 2020 budget in full since the bill was passed expeditiously by the National Assembly.
In his remarks after the passage of the budget, Senate President Lawan noted that one of the issues resolved in the legislative agenda of the Ninth Senate, was return the budget cycle to January to December.
He expressed satisfaction that the Senate was able to achieve that objective, commending his colleagues for their cooperation in ensuring the accomplishment of the set goal.
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 that cannot be defined to something that can be defined and bought into by our country and business partners living in and outside the country.
“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 Ninth National Assembly the credit, because we thought it was going to be impossible.”
Lawan also expressed optimism that, with the recent passage of 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 had been sufficiently empowered to ensure the successful implementation of the 2020 budget.