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Buhari Signs N10.594tr 2020 Budget

Federal lawmakers got a huge pat on the back on Tuesday from President Muhammadu Buhari for swiftly passing the 2020 Budget, “the earliest” since the return to democracy 20 years ago.

He spoke at the signing of the Appropriation Bill into law at the Aso Villa in the presence of key officials of government – Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and presidential aides.

Following Tuesday’s event, the budget cycle will revert to January to December in 2020. And to guarantee its continuity, the President has directed that the 2021 budget plan be submitted to the lawmakers in September 2020.

The total appropriation for spending is N10,594,362,364,830.
N560.47 billion of the total budget is for statutory transfers while N2.7 trillion is for debt service.

Other breakdown of the budget include N4,842,974,600,640 for Recurrent Expenditure; Capital expenditure N2,465,418,006,955; Fiscal Deficit N2.28 trillion and Deficit/GDP N1.52 per cent.

The budget as passed by the National Assembly also maintained Nigeria’s daily oil production rate at 2.18 million per barrel, but increased the Oil Benchmark Price to $57 per barrel against the 55 dollars proposed by the Executive.

It has an inflation rate of 10.81 per cent and the exchange rate at N305 to a dollar.
The President promised to submit the borrowing plan to the National Assembly since it is a deficit budget and urged then to ensure its quick passage.

Commending the lawmakers, he said; “I am very pleased that the National Assembly worked uncommonly long hours in the interest of our people and the national economy to ensure detailed legislative review and passage of the Budget within two months.

“This patriotic zeal adopted by the Ninth National Assembly has restored our budget cycle to a predictable January to December fiscal year.

“Furthermore, in the 20 years since the return to civilian democracy, this will be just the fourth time that the Federal Budget was passed before the end of the previous year, and this is the earliest,’’ he said.

“For these achievements, I must, therefore, congratulate and thank the Distinguished Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker, and indeed, all members of the federal legislature for their commitment and support,’’ he added.

The President also thanked the Ninth National Assembly for supporting important legislations such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Amendment Act as well as the 2019 Finance Bill.
According to him, these laws are vital to the successful implementation of the 2020 Budget.

The President said he had instructed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as well as all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to ensure that the 2020 Appropriation Act is effectively implemented.

Buhari expressed   confidence that the government would be able to finance the budget as planned, going by his administration’s  vision to grow the nation’s revenue and considering the global oil market performance.

He said: “I am aware of the regular high-level discussions that took place  between senior officials of the Executive and the Legislature during this period. I commend this renewed partnership, the mutual understanding as well as the collaboration between these two arms of government.

“Now, we are well positioned to effectively implement the budget and deliver our promises to Nigerians.

Businesses will also benefit as they are now in a position to plan more effectively. We have to sustain this harmonious working relationship. I expect that, going forward, this will be the norm.

“I will work with the Ninth National Assembly to give effect to the constitutional, legislative and other actions that may be necessary to address the various challenges currently associated with our federal budgeting process, including the enactment of an Organic Budget Bill.

“The 2020 Budget passed by the National Assembly provides for aggregate expenditures of  N10.594 trillion, an increase of N263.95 billion  over the Executive’s proposal that was submitted in October 2019.

 We have examined the adjustments and may revert to the National Assembly with a request for a virement or other relevant amendments.

“The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will make a public presentation of the details of the approved budget.

“With today’s global oil market outlook and our strategic approach to revenue growth, we are optimistic that we will be able to finance the 2020 Budget.

“However, being a deficit budget, an appropriate 2020 – 2022 Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly, in due course.

The President expressed the hope that the Finance Bill would be passed by the National Assembly very soon for presidential assent.

He maintained that the bill if passed, would support the funding and implementation of the 2020 Budget.

“The passage of the Finance Bill, which I am told will be done in the coming days, will also be a landmark achievement worthy of recognition, being the first time this has been done in the past twenty years.

“We look forward to receiving this bill shortly for Presidential Assent.

“Once passed into law, the Finance Bill will support the funding and implementation of the 2020 Budget.

“We shall sustain this tradition by ensuring that subsequent budgets are also accompanied by a Finance Bill.

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