President Muhammadu Buhari
  • To address COVID-19 hassles, Oil price dip

  • Buhari signs 2020 revised budget

  • MDAs get 50% capital project releases by July ending

BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government’s commitment to address the harsh socio-economic realities and emerging health challenges from the coronavirus (COVID-19) made review of 2020 Budget inevitable.

According to the President, the amended 2020 budget of N10.81 trillion, which is about 226 billion Naira above the initial N10.59 trillion Appropriation Act, demonstrates government’s resolve to effectively contain the COVID-19 spread, thereby protecting the lives and livelihood of Nigerians.

“Understandably too, we needed to reallocate resources in the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 to ensure effective implementation of required health and emergency measures, as well as to mitigate the negative socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic”, he said.

The President further stated; “The 2020 Amended Budget, which I have just signed into law today, underscores our administration’s firm commitment to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihood of our people. With these budget amendments, as well as our recently launched N2.3 trillion stimulus programme, we are well-positioned to safeguard the economy.”

President Buhari, who spoke at the State House, Abuja while signing the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 passed by the National Assembly in June, however assured that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will receive 50 per cent of their capital allocations by the end of July 2020.

He said the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 provides for “aggregate expenditures of N10.81 trillion, which is an increase of N216 billion over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act.”

The President said efforts will be geared towards effective budget implementation to realise its laudable objectives in the face of recent implementation challenges, adding that all Ministers must ensure MDAs intensify capital project delivery efforts and fully cooperate with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in realising laudable objectives contained in the 2020 budget.

Stressing that government has made noticeable progress implementing the 2020 Appropriation Act, President Buhari said as at May 31, 2020, releases for capital projects’ implementation stood at over N253.33 billion.

On his administration’s belief in the budget review, the President said; “It became necessary to revise the Appropriation Act 2020 in response to recent developments, in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic. Crude oil prices in the world market declined sharply from a high of $72.20 per barrel in January 2020 to below $20 per barrel in April 2020, and have since remained around $40 per barrel.

“Nigeria’s crude oil production quota has been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to strengthen the oil market. Global trade has generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“All these developments are plunging the global economy into recession, and Nigeria has not escaped the impact of this. In effect, the assumptions underlying the 2020 Appropriation Act are no longer sustainable.

“It is therefore imperative to adjust our expected revenues, considering the widespread disruptions in domestic and international economic activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the containment measures taken in response thereto.”

The President was full of thanks to the National Assembly for their support as well as prompt review and passage of the amendments to the 2020 Appropriation Act.

The initial 2020 Appropriation Bill was signed into law on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 by President Buhari

Confirming the President’s position of the budget review, President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Lawan, said the National Assembly was motivated to promptly pass the revised budget in order to cushion the harsh economic effects of the deadly coronavirus pandemic on Nigerians

Dignitaries at the brief ceremony included: Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha; and Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

Also present were Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba; and the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emiefile.

Others include: Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Ben Akabueze; Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare; and his counterpart for the House of Representatives, Hon. Umar el-Yakub.

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