*Raises estimates by N450b
*As Reps jerks up proposal by N260bn
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi, Musa Adamu and Christiana Ekpa
The Senate has confirmed its readiness to pass the N10.33 trillion 2020 budget today, December 5, even as it raised the estimates by N450 billion.
The House of Representatives also yesterday increased the 2020 budget estimates from N10.33 trillion to N10.59 trillion, making about N260 billion addition.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks during plenary on Wednesday, said: “With the passage of the Amendment bill on the Public Procurement Act 2007 for third reading, the coast is now clear for us to consider and pass the 2020 Appropriation bill for third reading tomorrow, Thursday, December 5, 2019.
“The required amendments carried out in the Act will no doubt, help in the speedy and efficient implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget estimates”.
Template for final consideration and passage of the 2020 budget in the Senate today, had earlier been laid with the submission of reports to that effect by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North).
But feelers from members of the committee strongly indicated that the budget estimates have been jerked up by the Senate to the tune of N450 billion.
Specifically, a ranking Senator from the North Central zone and member of the committee said the committee in the course of its work in the last one month tinkered with the final figure of the N10.33trillion 2020 budget proposal sent to the National Assembly.
The Senator who spoke on condition of anonymity said the committee increased the 2020 budget proposal by additional N450 billion.
According to him, some of the sectoral allocations were adjusted and at the end, based on presentations by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the budget had to be jerked up to N10.56 trillion.
He stated that copies of the budget document had since been circulated among all Senators in preparation for the budget debate today.
The increase by the House is contained in the 2020 budget defence report laid before the House of Representatives Wednesday by the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Muktar Batara.
The report as presented before the House read: “A Bill for an Act to authorize the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the total sum of N10,594,362,364,830 (Ten Trillion, Five Hundred and Ninety-Four Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty – Two Million, Three Hundred and Sixty – Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty Naira) only of which N 560,470,827,235 (Five Hundred and Sixty Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty – Five Naira) only, is for Statutory Transfers.
“N 2,725,498,930,000 (Two Trillion, Seven Hundred and Twenty – Five Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety – Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Naira) only, is for Debt Service, N 4,842,974,600,640 (Four Trillion, Eight Hundred and Forty – Two Billion, Nine Hundred and Seventy -Four Million, Six Hundred Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty Naira) only, is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure.
“The sum of N 2,465,418,006,955 (Two Trillion, Four Hundred and Six – Five Billion, Four Hundred and Eighteen Million, Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty – Five Naira) only, is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on 31 day of December, 2019.”
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had proposed an aggregate expenditure of N10.33 trillion for the Federal Government in 2020, comprising 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).
The budget estimates presented by Buhari pegged debt service at N2.45 trillion and put provision for Sinking Fund to retire maturing bonds issued to local contractors at N296 billion.
Following the laying of the budget defence report by the Appropriation Committee, the House of Representatives may pass the 2020 budget this Thursday, according to parliamentary practice.
Ideally, upon receiving report of budget defence, the House at the next sitting consider the report through the Committee of Supply Chaired by the Speaker and eventually pass the budget.