• Suspended until January 26, 2021
Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale
Two chambers of the National Assembly adopted the Appropriation Act for 2021 yesterday, increasing the size of the budget from N13.08 trillion presented to them by President Muhammadu Bukhari 11 weeks ago to N13.588 trillion.
The adoption of the budget for 2021 followed the consideration and adoption of harmonized reports submitted to them by the committees separately.
The two chambers increased the budget for 2021 by about N580 billion and limited the daily production of crude oil to 1.86 million barrels per day, while the reference price of oil was set at $ 40 per barrel.
They approved the N379 for the dollar as the official exchange rate, while the GDP growth rate was fixed at 3 percent.
Highlights in the report approved by the Senate, showed that total expenditures amount to N13,588,027,886,175, legal transfer N496,528,471,273, periodic expenditures N5,641,970,060,680, capital expenditures N4,125,149,354,222, debt service will be N3. 324,380,000,000 and N5,196,007,992,292. for the budget deficit.
The president, the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), said the committee, while processing the Appropriations Bill for 2021, noted that “the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected almost every aspect of life, businesses , individuals and government, especially the revenue growth of the state.
“The growth of the Nigerian oil price is extraordinary, which is on the international market between 47 and 50 dollars per barrel.
“It is above the reference price of 40 dollars per barrel approved by the National Assembly.
“Discovery of subprojections of total revenue in the amount of N100 billion.
“The need to improve the budget structure in order to enable the economy to break down in order to speed up the process of throwing the economy out of the current state of recession.
“The urgent need for the optimal allocation and judicious use of the scarce resources available for economic recovery, diversification, improving competitiveness and ensuring social inclusion.”
The Committee recommended that “given the rise in global oil prices above the $ 40 benchmark, the executive may wish to submit a supplementary appropriation bill whenever it deems it necessary to fund critical areas that will further help accelerate our economy from its current state. recession. “
In a speech after the adoption of the budget law, Senate President Dr. Ahmad Lawan said the National Assembly would not accept another executive request to extend the capital implementation of the 2020 budget.
Lawan said that the approval of the National Assembly to approve the extension of the capital component of the budget in 2020 last week should be fully used by ministries, departments and government agencies.
He added that the extension, which will last until March 31, 2021, together with the implementation of the budget for 2021, which begins in January 2021, will guarantee sufficient injection of funds into the economy.
He said: “For Nigerians, this budget, which was adopted today in the National Assembly, ensures that the economy is fully supported by public spending, because the economy of our country largely depends on public spending.
“The period of extension of the budget for the execution of the budget for 2020, which we did last year, is to ensure that the funds available for 2020 are not lost.
“So there will be two budgets; funds from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021; and then the implementation of the budget for 2021, which starts in January. It is an absolute fight against the recession we are suffering from.
“With the projected growth of our gross domestic product (GDP) of three percent in the budget for 2021, we believe that the recession in which Nigeria is in will be over before the end of the first quarter.”
However, in addition to passing the budget for 2021 yesterday, the Senate also adopted the amount of N453.200 billion as the budget of the fiscal year for 2020 of the Delta Niger Development Commission (NDDC).
The adoption of the budget for the third reading followed after the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Senator Amos Kilawangs Bulus (APC Gombe South), presented the report of his Delta Niger Affairs Committee.
In its recommendation, the Committee noted that the commission’s revenue profile for 2020 consisted of revenues of N12 billion, federal government contributions of 63,506,151,945.00, Nigeria’s liquefied natural gas (NLNG) contributions and others, in total of N317,493,848,055.00, Environmental Fund of N60 billion and other internally generated revenues of N200 million.
Bulus added that the committee, after detailed consideration, recommended that the NDDC expenditure profile for 2020 include staff costs of N27.389 billion, overheads of N13,937,244,107, internal capital expenditures of N2,793,755,893 and development projects at cost N409.080 billion.
The Board recommended that the NDDC budget for 2020 be drafted on March 31, 2021.
The Senate approved all the recommendations accordingly.
The House of Representatives also adopted the budget for 2021 in the total amount of N13,588,027,886,175.
The house put the inflation growth rate at 11.95 percent, while retained earnings amounted to N7.89 trillion.
In the approved budget, the House approved N134 billion for the National Assembly as opposed to N128 billion proposed by the President.
The analysis showed that the amount of N51,994,511,954 was attributed only to the House, while the amount of N5,734,166,662 was attributed to the Commission for Service of the National Assembly.
Home spokesman, Hon. Ben Kalu told reporters at the end of the special plenary session for the adoption of the budget that the National Assembly increased the budget based on the reality on the ground.
He said that by adopting the budget, the National Assembly could transfer the money to the executive power, ensuring that the budget cycle is maintained from January to December.
He therefore called on the executive to ensure the early publication of the budget, and also that the exemptions be secured in cash.
In his remarks after the adoption of the budget, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, she said over the past two months, the House has been busy primarily with efforts to complete work on the 2021 Appropriations Bill to ensure passage before the end of this year.
He noted that the budget cycle from January to December is necessary to ensure the efficient implementation of the country’s annual budgets in order to respond to the country’s development challenges.
Gbajabiamila stated that this standard will be maintained throughout the term of the current legislature.
The speaker, however, said that the shortcomings of the economy, health system, internal security and justice in the country have undermined faith in the Nigerian project.
He said: “Despite vigorous government efforts, our economy continues to rely too heavily on crude oil sales. Huge potentials in tourism and agriculture, manufacturing and technology, media and entertainment remain untapped due to uncertainty, infrastructure deficits, inconsistencies in policies and regulations.
“The risks we face are not abstract. After the #EndSARS protest, we saw it in the flames that engulfed our cities. We saw this two weeks ago in Zarbamari with the massacre of citizens engaged in agriculture to survive, and recently in the abduction of boys who want to improve their lives by education in Kankar. “
In the meantime, both houses of the National Assembly adjourned the plenary session until January 26, 2021.