…to send borrowing plan to NASS
By Egena Sunday Ode
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday signed the 2021 Appropriation Act and the 2021 Finance Act
Buhari appended his signature to the documents at a brief ceremony inside the council chamber of the presidential villa, Abuja.
The National Assembly had on December 21, 2020, passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill with an aggregate expenditure of N13, 588, 027,886, 175 trillion.
It comprises total Capital expenditure of N1,060,751,051,650 and total Capital Expenditure of N4,125,149,354,222, Statutory Transfer stands at N496,528,471,273; recurrent Expenditure of N5,641,970,060,680 and Gross Domestic Product, GDP growth rate of 3.00 Percent.
The National Assembly also provided the sum of N3,324,380,000 trillion for debt servicing.
The lawmakers increased the budget estimate by the sum of N505, 607,317,942 from the estimate of N13, 082, 420, 568,233 presented to the joint sitting of National Assembly by the president on October 8, 2020.
On hand to witness the ceremony were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, among others.
Speaking shortly after appending his signature to the documents, President Buhari said that in designing the 2021 Budget, government deliberately chose to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy, reiterating that it will accelerate economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy.
He said: “As you are all aware, our economy recently lapsed into its second recession in four years. I mentioned during the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill that we intend to use the budget to accelerate our economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy. All Ministers are to ensure that their supervised Ministries, Departments and Agencies achieve the objectives set for their sectors.”
President Buhari hinted that he will soon send a borrowing plan to the National Assembly since the 2021 budget has deficit, while also revealing that in view of the amendments made to the executive proposals by the lawmakers, he will revert to them for amendments, virememts or other necessary adjustments.
He added: “Being a deficit budget, the specific Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly. I count on the co-operation of the National Assembly for a quick consideration and approval of the Plan when submitted. I assure you that all borrowings will be judiciously applied towards growth-enhancing critical expenditures.”
President Buhari further stated: “I am aware of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the 2021 Executive Budget proposal. We will examine these amendments and, where necessary, will revert to the National Assembly with a request for amendment, virement or other appropriate adjustments to ensure that the core objectives of the Budget are accomplished.”
The president affirmed that the 2021 Budget is critical to the delivery of his administration’s legacy projects and therefore directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to put the necessary measures in place to realize the objective.
According to him, “The 2021 Budget is very critical to the delivery of the legacy projects of our administration. To fully achieve our objectives, the effective implementation of the 2021 Budget is imperative.
“Therefore, I have directed that the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning should adopt all necessary measures in this regard to achieve the objectives of the Budget, including the targeted release of capital votes.
“We are intensifying our domestic revenue mobilization efforts so that we can have adequate resources to fund the 2021 Budget. Revenue Generating Agencies, and indeed all Ministries, Departments and Government Owned Enterprises, must work very hard to achieve their revenue targets, control their cost-to-revenue ratios, as well as ensure prompt and full remittance of revenue collections.”
President Buhari directed relevant agencies are to ensure the realization of the nation’s crude oil production and export targets, warning Heads of defaulting agencies that they will be severely sanctioned where they come short.
He also appealed to citizens and the business community, at large, to fulfill their tax obligations promptly.
Speaking on the 2020 Budget performance, President revealed that it currently stands at “an impressive rate” of 97.7%.
He added: “This commendable outcome underscores the importance of our efforts, together with the Legislature, to return to the discipline of a January-to December fiscal year. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide further details on the 2020 Budget’s performance, in due course.”
He directed all relevant agencies of government to scale-up budget implementation monitoring and evaluation efforts, noting, “In this regard, we continue to count on the support of Civil Society Organizations and the general public, at large.”
Buhari explained that in spite of the adverse impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the nation’s economy and the government’s revenues, the administration has made appreciable progress in the implementation of the 2020 Budget.
“As at December 2020, we had released about One-point-Seven- Four-Eight Trillion Naira (N1.748 trillion) out of a total of the One-Point-Nine-Six- Two Trillion Naira (N1.962 trillion) voted for the implementation of critical capital projects, representing a performance of about Eighty-Nine-point-One Percent (89.1%),” he stated: