Buhari Presents 2020 Budget Estimates Tuesday

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  • Senate Jerks up expenditure by N729bn
  • House approves N10.73tn, $57 oil benchmark for 2020 budget

Deji Elumoye and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The annual budget cycle of the federal government may return to the old cycle of January to December from next year as President Muhammadu Buhari will next Tuesday present the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.

This is coming just as the Senate yesterday jerked up the total estimated expenditure of the federal government in 2020 from N10.002 trillion to N10.729 trillion.

On its part, the House of Representatives has approved the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), increasing next year’s budget by N729 billion, from N 10. 002 trillion to N10.729.4 trillion

The upper chamber at plenary also accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of under disclosure of e-collection duties while resolving to to properly investigate the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with a view to ascertaining the actual cost associated with the joint venture agreements.

Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, told his colleagues that with the approval of the MTEF/FSP document the coast is now clear for President Buhari to lay the 2020 budget proposal before a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Lawan spoke after passage of the 2020 – 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework ( MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper ( FSP) draft, forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly by President Buhari last week Wednesday.

The draft was subsequently referred to the National Assembly joint committee on Finance which concluded its assignment on Wednesday and presented its report at plenary yesterday.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, also echoed the planned 2020 budget presentation next week Tuesday by President Buhari while speaking with journalists after plenary.

“With the passage of MTEF/ FSP documents by both chambers of the National Assembly , the needful has indeed been done for presentation of the 2020 budget by the President next week, which the President of the Senate specifically stated that it will be on Tuesday , October 8, 2019”, he said .

Meanwhile, the Senate has received a formal written request from President Buhari to present the 2020 Appropriation bill before a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The request letter, which was dated Wednesday, October 2, 2019 and addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, reads: “May I crave the kind indulgence of the Distinguished Senate to grant me the slot of 1400 hours on Tuesday, 8th October, 2019, to formally present the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the Joint session of the National Assembly.

“Please accept, Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest regards, as I look forward to addressing the Joint Session”.

However, one of the earlier proposals made by the President which was the entire aggregate expenditure for the 2020 budget was jerked up from N10.002 trillion to N10.729 trillion.

The increase as explained by the joint committee on Finance of both chambers, arose from $57 per barrel approved as oil price bench mark as against $55 proposed by the executive in the MTEF/ FSP documents.

The joint committee explained further in its report adopted at both chambers, that part of the N10.729 trillion now proposed as aggregate expenditure profile of the 2020 budget , is N548billion added to the N942.6 bn expected revenues from Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) .

According to the report , the revenue target of NCS of N942.6 billion for 2020 budget is now increased to N1.5 trillion due to improved performance of NCS within the last nine months.

The report as recommended and adopted by both chambers, also stated that saving on income accruing from the increase of the oil price benchmark amounting to N172 billion which represents the federal government portion of the $2 added to the benchmark, be used to pay salaries and emolument of the proposed 30,000 new employees into the military, police and some para- military agencies.

The committee also recommended and got adopted, N1.5trillion as the amount for new borrowing as against N1.70 trillion proposed by the executive in the MTEF/FSP documents.

The N200 billion reduction, according to it, is sourced from the increase of revenue
target of the Nigeria Custom Service.

Also reduced is the budget deficit from N1.7trillion to N1.5trillion with attendant increase of the total capital available to MDAs by N357billion, from N1.01 trillion to N1.367 trillion.

The two chambers also adopted N1.5 trillion as the amount for New Borrowing “as a result of reduction of N200 billion which was sourced from the increase of revenue target of the Nigeria Custom Service.

The report called for a proper investigation of the e-collection stamp duties domicile with Central Bank of Nigeria for the past years so as to show probity and accountability and of course increase the revenue base of the country.

The committee while observing that the activities of the NNPC as it relates to cost of production is shrouded in secrecy stated that the direct deduction of cost from revenue without recourse to relevant agencies of government is unacceptable.

It therefore ordered the proper investigation be carried out on NNPC so as to ascertain the actual cost associated with the Joint Venture agreements.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has approved the 2020-2022 MTEF and FSP, increasing next year’s budget by N729 billion, from N 10. 002 trillion to N10.729.4 trillion

It also jacked up the benchmark oil price to $57 per barrel, as against the $55 proposed in the 2020-2022 MTEF/FSP approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).