…Raises appropriation by N505billion
*Seeks supplementary Budget for Covid 19 Vaccine, Security
By Ignatius Okorocha
The National Assembly on Monday at plenary, approved 2021 harmonized Budget of N13.588 trillion as against N13.08trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on Oct. 8.
The approval of the budget followed the consideration and adoption of the harmonized reports of Senate and House of Representatives Appropriation Committees.
Recall that Buhari had on Oct. 8, presented the 2021 budget of N13.08 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
The difference between President Buhari’s initial proposal of N13.08trillion and National Assembly final appropriation of N13.58trillion show an increase of N505.6billion.
Presenting the Senate version of 2021 Appropriation report, Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Barau Jibril(APC-Kano), explained that the increase from the estimated N13.08trillion presented by the President stem from request from the Executive arm of government for up scaling of the 2021 budget Nigeria Social Investment Programme( NSIP) of N365billion.
“That was captured in the budget.We also have another one on projected revenue of about N100billion and other agencies that are under funding that made up what you saw there,” he noted
According to Barau,the committee in preparing the budget was guided by the revenue parameters approved by the National Assembly, when it considered the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
He said the committee adopted 40 dollars per barrel crude oil price benchmark as proposed by the Executive at 1.86mbpd, while exchange rate of N379 was also adopted with Gross Domestic Product(GDP) assumption of 3.00 per cent as presented by the executive.
He further noted that the committee, while processing the bill considered the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic that has negatively affected virtually every aspect of life, businesses, individuals and revenue profile of government.
He, however, said in view of the increasing global oil prizes beyond the benchmark of 40 dollars, the executive may wish to submit a Supplementary Appropriation Bill whenever it deems fit.
This, Barau said, would help fund critical areas that would help to accelerate movement of the economy out of recession.
A breakdown of the approved budget indicates that a total aggregate expenditure N13, 588,027,886,175.
Recurrent Expenditure was allocated N5,641,970,060,680 while Capital Expenditure was N4,125,149,354,222.
N496,528,471,273 was for Statutory Transfer, Debt Servicing N3,324,380,000,000 and the sum of N5,196,007,992,292 Surplus/ Deficit, while GDP growth rate is 3.00%.
Sectorial highlights of the passed 2021 Appropriation Bill for capital expenditure indicates that Ministry of Works and Housing was allocated N399 billion, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning was allocated N376 billion, Ministry of Agriculture N211 billion, Ministry of Transport, N209 billion, Ministry of Power, N206 billion, Ministry of Defence was allocated N127 billion among others.
The chairman observed that there has been remarkable increase in Nigeria’s oil price that has been hovering between $47 and $50 per barrel in the international market.
He noted that current increase in oil price is above the benchmark prize of $40 per barrel approved by the National Assembly.
The committee,Barau also noted the discovery of under projection of the total revenue to the tune of N100billion.
He further stressed the need to enhance the structure of the budget to allow for the reflection of the economy in order to accelerate the process of taking out the economy from its current state of recession.
In his remark,President of Senate Ahmad Lawan shortly after the passage of the budget said :”This budget that has been passed by National Assembly today is to ensure that our economy is supported fully through public expenditure.
“Because the economy of our country depends largely on public expenditure.
“The budget extension period of 2020 which we did last year is to ensure that the funds that are available for 2020 are not lost.
“So we have two budgets and funds from 2020 elapse at March 31, 2021, the implementation of 2021 budget will start from January 1, 2021 to December 31st 2021.
“That is absolute fight against the recession that we are in and with the projected growth in our GDP in the 2021 budget, the recession will be over before the first quarter.
“I want to urge the Executive arm of government first to ensure that they implement the 2020 budget that will last up to the 31st of March 2021.
“There will be no extension after 31st March, everyone must be on his toes in the MDAs to implement the budget 2020.
“And for 2021 we have to do everything possible to ensure that we implement the budget like we try to do in the 2020 budget.
“I believe that the economy of Nigeria will receive a boost from the implementation of the two budgets. ”
Lawan said there was need for the executive to come up with a supplementary budget in first quarter of 2021 to provide funds to procure and administer the envisaged COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.
He also said the was need to also allocate adequate fund to cater for issues of insecurity in the country.
He said issues of health and security were very important to the development of the people.
Senate thereafter adjourned plenary till Tuesday Jan. 26,2021.