…Adds N301bn to Executive proposals
By Ignatius Okorocha
The two chambers of the National Assembly Thursday, raised the N10.509 trillion proposed by the Executive as revised budget for 2020 fiscal year with N301billion by passing N10.810trillion as aggregate expenditure for the 2020 revised budget .
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in his earlier submission on the revised budget proposed an estimated budget, N10,509,654,033,054, N398,505,979,362 is for Statutory Transfers; N2,951,710,000,000 is for Debt Service; N4,928,525,467,849 is for Recurrent Expenditure; while N2,230,912,585,842 is for contribution to the development fund for Capital Expenditure for Senate consideration.
The N301billion added to the earlier proposal made by the executive arose from increases made on Capital expenditure proposal , which was jerked up from N2.230 trillion to N2.488 trillion , recurrent expenditure jerked up from the earlier proposed N4.928trillion to N4.942trillion and statutory transfers increased from N398.505billion to N428.033, totalling N301billion .
Similar differences were also made on parameters assumptions of the revised proposals like $25 per barrel oil price benchmark increased to $28 per barrel , 1.9m barrel oil production per day , reduced to 1.8million barrel per day .
However other critical highlights of the revised budget proposal forwarded to NASS by President Buhari two weeks ago like N2.951trillion debt servicing and N500billion as intervention fund for COVID-19 were retained, just like the N360 to a US dollar exchange rate .
Giving explanation on increases reflected on the revised budget proposal particularly on the statutory transfers , the Chairman Senate Committee on Finance , Senator Solomon Adeola ( APC Lagos West) , said increase made on oil price benchmark from $25 per barrel proposed to $28 per barrel , accounted for N5billion spread on different votes earlier proposed .
According to him, out of the N5billion expected as additional proceeds from increased oil price benchmark , additional N1.746billion was added to the statutory votes of N44.200billion for the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) , N816million added to N20.944billion earlier proposed for the North East Development Commission ( NEDC).
Others are , N1.709billion added to the earlier votes of N51.120billion if the Universal Basic Education Commission ( UBEC) and N897million added to N25.560billion earlier proposed for Basic Health Care Fund .
Earlier in his lead debate for passage of the revised budget , the Chairman , Senate Committee on Appropriation , Senator Jibrin Barau ( APC Kano North), said his committee in analysing the budget proposals , made the following observations.
That there were cuts in all items in statutoy transfers , increase in the debt service and general reduction in the overhead component of the budget ( excluding the health sector ) .
Others are reductions/zero provision to some projects in the capital component and new provisions on service wide votes and capital supplementation to cushion the socio-economic disruptions and shock of COVID-19.
In his remarks after the passage of the budget , the President of the Senate , Ahmad Lawan said having been on the same page with the required revised budget , the various standing committees of the Senate , should be the power of oversight , ensure that all apporopriations made, are implemented as passed.
“We must ensure accountability in the execution of the just passed revised 2020 budget in the interest of Nigerians .
“The best way of doing this , is to carry out thorough oversight on both the revenue generating agencies and others executing the budget in one way or the other “, he said .