NIGERIAN PRESIDENT BUHARI took the stage at the National Assembly, Tuesday afternoon, to present N10.33 trillion 2020, Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly. Senate President Ahmad Lawan, in his opening address, harped on the need for quick passage of the 2020 budget, same as President Buhari in his address.
Lawan, said the National Assembly would accelerate work on the 2020 Appropriation Bill presented by the president, to ensure Nigeria returns to January to December budget cycle. Time table for the budget defence was outlined by Lawan in his address.
Ministries, departments and agencies of government would appear before the National Assembly committees to defend their budgets which will be concluded by October 2019, according to Lawan. Other legislative processes on the bill will be concluded in November, while the budget will be passed into law by December 2019.
As President Buhari took the stage to present his budget address, after observing protocols, he said, “Before I proceed to read the details of the budget, let me apologise for my voice. As you can hear in my voice, I have cold because I am working hard.”
Buhari’s comment on his health, elicited mixed reactions – both loud laughter and applause from audience inside the chamber rented the air. Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, law lawmakers, state governors, federal executive council members, leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, among others, were caught in the mixed reaction.
Total government revenue in 2020, is N8.155 trillion, made up of oil revenue N2.64 trillion, non-oil tax revenues N1.81 trillion, and ther revenue of N3.7trillion. President Buhari said: “This is seven per cent higher than the 2019 estimate of N7.594 trillion, inclusive of the Government Owned Enterprises’’.
Non-debt recurrent expenditure includes N3.6 trillion for personnel and pension costs, an increase of N620.28, over the 2019 fiscal year figure. “This increase reflects the new minimum wage as well as our proposals to improve remuneration and welfare of our police and armed forces,’’ Buhari said.
Capital projects takes N2.46 trillion, including N318.06 billion statutory transfers. Other estimates are N556.7 billion for statutory transfers; N2.45 trillion for debt servicing and N296 billion sinking fund. The sinking fund would be used to “retire maturing bonds to local contractors”.
The budget is predicated on oil production estimate of 2.18 million barrels per day, bench marked at $57 dollars per barrel and exchange rate of N305 to the dollar. The budget further bench marked real gross domestic product, GDP, growth rate of 2.93 percent, and inflation rate “is expected to remain slightly above single digits in 2020”.
Sectoral allocation, Ministry of Interior got N35 billion, Defence got N100 billion; Education N48 billion; and Health N46 billion; Works & Housing N262bn; Transportation N123bn; UBEC N112bn; Defence N100bn; Agriculture N83bn; Water N82bn; Niger Delta N81bn; NEDC N38bn; SIP N30bn; and FCT N28bn;
President Buhari said he was delighted with the recovery of the nation’s economy and increase in foreign reserve from $23 billion dollars in 2016, to $42.5 billion dollars in August 2019.
“This increase is largely due to favourable prices of crude oil in the international market, minimal disruption of crude oil production given the stable security in the Niger Delta region and our import substitution drive, especially in key commodities” Buhari said.