N’Assembly Raises 2021 Budget by N580bn, Approves N13.588trn

The two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill, increasing the budget size from N13.08 trillion presented to them by President Muhamnadu Buhari 11 weeks ago to N13.588 trillion.

The passage of the 2021 budget followed consideration and adoption of harmonised reports separately submitted to them by their Committees on Appropriation.

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The two chambers increased the 2021 budget by about N580 billion and pegged daily crude oil production at 1.86 million barrels per day, while oil benchmark price was fixed at $40 per barrel.

They approved N379 to dollar as the official exchange rate while GDP growth rate was pegged at 3 per cent.

Highlights of the report approved by the Senate showed aggregate expenditure to be N13,588,027,886,175, statutory transfer of N496,528,471,273, recurrent expenditure of N5,641,970,060,680, capital expenditure of N4,125,149,354,222, debt service will be N3,324,380,000,000 and N5,196,007,992,292 is for budget deficit.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), said the committee, while processing the 2021 Appropriation Bill, noted that “the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected virtually every aspect of life, businesses, individuals and government, especially the revenue accruals to the government.

There is remarkable increase in Nigeria’s oil price, which is hovering between $47 and $50 per barrel in the international market.

“This is above the benchmark price of $40 per barrel approved by the National Assembly.

“The discovery of under projection of the total revenue to the tune of N100billion.

“The need to enhance the structure of the budget to allow for the reflation of the economy in order to accelerate the process of taking out the economy from its current state of recession.

The dire need for optimal allocation and judicious utilisation of the scarce resources available for economic recovery, diversification, enhancement of competitiveness and ensuring social inclusion.”

The committee recommended that “in view of the increasing global oil prices beyond the benchmark of $40, the executive may wish to submit a supplementary Appropriation Bill whenever it deems fit in order to fund critical areas that will further help to accelerate the movement of our economy out of its current state of recession.”

In a speech after the passage of the budget bill, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly would not accede to another request from the executive to extend the capital implementation of the 2020 budget.

Lawan stated that the National Assembly’s approval granting extension for the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget last week should therefore be fully utilised by ministries, departments and agencies of government.

He added that the extension, lasting till March 31, 2021 alongside the implementation of the 2021 budget starting in January 2021, will guarantee sufficient injection of funds into the economy.

He said: “For Nigerians, this budget that has been passed in the National Assembly today is to ensure that the economy is supported fully through public expenditure because the economy of our country depends largely on public expenditure.

“The budget extension period for implementation of the 2020 budget, which we did last year, is to ensure that the funds that are available for 2020 are not lost.

“So, there will be two budgets running; funds from January 1, 2021, up to March 31, 2021; and then the implementation of the 2021 budget itself to start from January. That is absolute fight against the recession we are suffering from.

With a projected three per cent growth in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 2021 budget, we believe that the recession, which Nigeria is in, will be over before the end of the first quarter.”

However, in addition to passing the 2021 budget yesterday, the Senate also passed the sum of N453,200 billion as 2020 fiscal year budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The passage of the budget for third reading, followed the presentation of the report of its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Amos Kilawangs Bulus ( APC Gombe South).

The committee, in its recommendation, noted that the revenue profile of the commission for 2020 comprised revenue brought forward of N12 billion, federal government’s contribution of N63,506,151,945.00, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and Others’ contributions, totalling N317,493,848,055.00, Ecological fund of N60 billion and other internally realised income of N200 million.

Bulus added that after due consideration, the committee recommended that the expenditure profile of the NDDC for 2020 should include a personnel cost of N27.389billion, overhead expenditure of N13,937,244,107, internal capital expenditure of N2,793,755,893 and development projects at the cost of N409.080billion.

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