Fred Itua, Abuja
Contrary to public expectations, the Senate has reportedly increased the N10.33 trillion 2020 budget proposal submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 8, 2019 by N450 billion.
The increment was reportedly effected by the Committee on Appropriation.
Multiple sources told Daily Sun that the Committee had earlier increased the estimates by N500 billion before it yanked off N50 billion.
One of the sources said the increment was done in consultation with the executive, adding that with the passage of the Finance Bill and expected $30 billion loan, the government would have enough funds to execute the budget.
According to the source, the increment was predominantly meant to handle the capital components of the budget and social intervention programmes of the Federal Government.
Chairman of the Committee on appropriation, Barau Jibrin, tabled the report at plenary, yesterday.
The Senate had planned to deliberate and pass the budget on Tuesday, but deferred it, following the demise of a member of the House of Representatives.
Lawmakers who have been given copies of the report, are expected to make inputs before its final passage into law. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the same version of the budget.
The proposal tagged: “Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation”, according to President Buhari, targets critical sectors of the economy.
During the presentation of the budget, the President listed the key areas to include “fiscal consolidation to strengthen our macroeconomic environment; Investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job creating sectors.
“Incentivising private sector investment essential to complement the government’s development plans, policies and programmes; and enhancing our social investment programs to further deepen their impact on those marginalised and most vulnerable Nigerians.”
The sum of N8.155 trillion is estimated as the total Federal Government revenue in 2020 and comprises oil revenue at N2.64 trillion, non-oil tax revenues of N1.81 trillion and other revenues of N3.7 trillion.
This represents seven per cent higher than the 2019 comparative estimate of N7.594 trillion inclusive of the government owned enterprises. Budget deficit was projected to be N2.18 trillion in 2020. This includes drawdowns on project-tied loans and the related capital expenditure.
This represents 1.52 per cent of estimated GDP, well below the 3 per cent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007, and in line with the ERGP target of 1.96 per cent.
The deficit will be financed by new foreign and domestic borrowings, privatisation proceeds, signature bonuses and drawdowns on the loans secured for specific development projects.
According to a breakdown of the estimates, the expenditure estimate includes 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).
Debt service is estimated at N2.45 trillion, and provision for sinking-fund to retire maturing bonds issued to local contractors is N296 billion.
The sum of N556.7 billion is provided for Statutory Transfers. Works and Housing got the lion’s share of N262 billion. It is followed by Power put at N127 billion and National Assembly at N125 billion while transportation got N123 billion.
The sum of N110 billion is earmarked for the Judiciary, N37.83 billion for the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and N44.5 billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
Others include 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.
“We have increased the budgetary allocation to the National Human Rights Commission from N1.5 billion to N2.5 billion. This 67 percent increase in funding was done to enable the Commission perform its functions more effectively,” Buhari informed lawmakers.