By Ikechukwu Okaforadi, Musa Adamu and Christiana Ekpa
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday presented to the joint sitting of the National Assembly, N10.33trillion as proposed budget expenditure for 2020.
The proposed N10.33 trillion budget comprised of a deficit of N2.8trillion, while a total of N620billion was earmarked for payment of N30,000 minimum wage and improved welfare services for members of the Armed Forces and Police.
The proposed budget of 2020 fiscal year is about N1.4trillion higher than the N8.9trillion 2019 budget.
The N8.155 trillion projected revenue according to the President, comprises of oil revenue N2.64 trillion, non-oil tax revenues of N1.81 trillion and other revenues of N3.7 trillion.
This is as on sectoral basis, the Ministry of Works has the highest projected allocation of N262billion, followed by Ministry of Defence with N127billion and the National Assembly, N 125billion.
President Buhari in the budget proposals, anchored all the estimates and projections on parameters earlier proposed and approved by the National Assembly as contained in the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Frame work (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
“Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) set out the parameters for the 2020 Budget.
“We have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of US$57 per barrel, daily oil production estimate of 2.18 million barrel per day and an exchange rate of N305 per US Dollar for 2020.
“We expect enhanced real GDP growth of 2.93% in 2020, driven largely by non-oil output, as economic diversification accelerates, and the enabling business environment improves. However, inflation is expected to remain slightly above single digits in 2020”, he said.
Critical components of the N10.33trillion budget as stated by the President, are statutory transfers of N556.7 billion, non-debt recurrent expenditure of N4.88 trillion and N2.14 trillion of capital expenditure (excluding the capital component of statutory transfers).
Others are N2.45 trillion for debt servicing and N556.7 billion as statutory Transfers which comprises of N125 billion for the National Assembly, N110 billion for the Judiciary, N37.83 billion for the North East Development Commission (NEDC), N44.5 billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), N111.79 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC); and N80.88 billion for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which is now supervised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
In the recurrent expenditure component of the budget, President Buhari explained that N3.6 trillion was earmarked for personnel and pension costs which according to him, is an increase of N620.28 billion over that of the 2019 budget.
“This increase reflects the new minimum wage as well as our proposals to improve remuneration and welfare of our Police and Armed Forces”, he said.
Budgetary allocation to the National Human Rights Commission was also increased from N1.5 billion to N2.5 billion, representing 67 percent increase.
Other sectoral allocations proposed in the budget christened “Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation” are Power: N127 billion; Transportation: N123 billion; Universal Basic Education Commission: N112 billion; Defence: N100 billion and Zonal Intervention Projects: N100 billion.
Others are Agriculture and Rural Development: N83 billion; Water Resources: N82 billion; Niger Delta Development Commission: N81 billion, Education: N48 billion; Health: N46 billion, Industry, Trade and Investment: N40 billion;North East Development Commission: N38 billion, Interior: N35 billion;
Social Investment Programmes: N30 billion, Federal Capital Territory: N28 billion; and Niger Delta Affairs Ministry: N24 billion.
Three critical bills on Finance and Petroleum Industry according to the President, would be forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly for expeditious consideration and passage.
“Accompanying the 2020 Budget Proposal is a Finance Bill for your kind consideration and passage into law. This Finance Bill has five strategic objectives, in terms of achieving incremental, but necessary, changes to our fiscal laws. Also to be forwarded, are two executive bills on Petroleum Industry for the required reforms”, he said.