Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The extraordinary Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday put finishing touches to the year 2020 budget, to be presented to the National Assembly by 2pm Tuesday.
There was however no post-FEC meeting briefing hence details of deliberations was not made known to State House Correspondents at the time of filing this report.
A top government source who volunteered information on the condition of anonymity, disclosed the meeting decided not to address the press before Tuesday’s presentation so as not to reveal details of what President Buhari will be addressing the National Assembly on.
The Senate had earlier received an official communication from President Buhari to present the 2020 Appropriation bill before a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The request, which was dated October 2, 2019 and addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, was read at plenary last Thursday.
Also, the Senate, after a long debate on Thursday, approved all the 16 recommendations contained in the report of the National Assembly joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The red chamber, among others, also increased the proposed nation’s budget for 2020 from N10.002 trillion to N10.729.4 trillion as contained in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), paving the way for President Buhari to submit the fiscal document.
The Extraordinary FEC which was earlier scheduled to hold last Saturday when President Buhari returns from his trip to South Africa was shifted via a terse statement on Friday night.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had last Tuesday explained that President Buhari will return to Abuja on Friday.
However, the Presidency in another statement signed by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina announced that the meeting has been shifted to hold at 12 noon Monday..
The last time an extra-ordinary FEC held was in January this year, where the President launched the new enhanced security international e-passport with 10-year validity.
In December last year, a special FEC session was convened on a Friday for the consideration and approval of this year’s budget proposal.
The budget presentation to the Parliament was meant to have taken place in the third week of September but for President Buhari’s participation in the 74th United Nations General Assembly.
The federal government plans to return to the January–December budget calendar.
As a fallout of signing of the 2017 budget into law by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as the president, the Executive and the Legislature had agreed to return the Federal Government to a January–December budget calendar, starting from the 2018 budget.
Nigeria currently runs a May-June budget cycle, a development caused by executive-legislature delays since the 8th National Assembly.
The delays have caused what many see as “distortions” in implementation and the inability to meet budget targets.