By Adedayo Akinwale
The House of Representatives on Monday passed the 2021 budget totalling N13,588,027,886,175.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 8 presented the sum of N13.08 trillion 2021 budget estimate to a joint session of the National Assembly.
The budget passed by the legislative arm showed an increase of about N580 billion in the 2021 budget.
The House pegged daily crude oil production at 1.86 million barrels per day, while oil benchmark Price was pegged at $40 per barrel.
Also, the House approved N379 to dollar as official exchange rate, while GDP growth rate was pegged at 3.00 per cent.
The House also put the inflation growth rate at 11.95 per cent, while retained revenue was out at N7.89 trillion.
In the approved budget, the House approved the sum of N134 billion for itself as against N128 billion proposed by the President.
The breakdown showed that the sum of 51,994,511,954 was appropriated for the House alone, while the National Assembly Service Commission was appropriated the sum of N5,734,166,662, Legislative Aides got the sum of N9,602,095,928, House Committee on Public Account got N142,764,258 and General Services was appropriated N9,134,672,079.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson of the House, Hon. Ben Kalu, while addressing journalists at the end of the special plenary said the legislative arm increased the budget based on the realities on ground.
He said with the passing of the budget, the National Assembly had been able to pass the buck to the executive by ensuring that the January – December budget cycle is maintained.
He, therefore, called on the executive to ensure early release of the budget and also to ensure that releases were cash backed.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said over the last two months, the House had been occupied primarily with efforts to complete work on the 2021 Appropriation Bill in time to ensure the budget becomes law before the end of this year.
He noted that the January to December budget cycle was necessary to ensure effective implementation of the country’s annual budgets to meet the nation’s development challenges.
Gbajabiamila assured that this standard would be maintained throughout their period in the office.
The Speaker, however, pointed out that inadequacies of the country’s economy, healthcare systems, internal security and justice architecture, had left everyone dangerously exposed to the risk of a complete and irreversible loss of faith in the Nigerian project by a large section of our citizenry.
He stated: “This year we have seen that the structural inadequacies of our economy and healthcare systems, our internal security and justice architecture, have left us dangerously exposed to the risk of a complete and irreversible loss of faith in the Nigerian project by a large section of our citizenry.
“Despite spirited government efforts, our economy is still overly reliant on the sale of crude oil. Vast swathes of potential in tourism and agriculture, manufacturing and technology, media and entertainment remain untapped due to insecurity, infrastructure deficits, policy and regulatory inconsistency.
“The risks we face are not abstract. In the aftermath of the #EndSars protests, we saw it in the flames that engulfed our cities. We saw it two weeks ago in Zarbamari with the massacre of citizens farming for survival, and most recently in the abduction of young boys seeking to improve their lives through education in Kankara.”