National Assembly Committees Begin Consideration Of Revised 2020 Budget

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Some Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives will on Thursday begin consideration of the revised 2020 budget proposal transmitted to the National Assembly by the Executive.

Though the Senate had proceeded on a two-week Sallah break, the Leadership of the Red Chamber on Wednesday assured that the development will not in any way affect deliberations on the revised budget proposal.

Recall that both the Executive and the Legislature last year agreed on reversing the national appropriation to start in January and end in December.

To this end, formalities in respect of the 2020 budget were concluded before the end of 2019.

However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 coupled with dwindling oil revenue for the government changed the whole ambitious projections of the 2020 Appropriation Act of the federal government.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday transmitted the revised budget to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

The new fiscal document was delivered to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, by the Presidential Aide on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Presidential Liaison in the House of Representatives, Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub confirmed that the Green Chamber had received the revised 2020 budget and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, from the Executive.

“Yes, it was submitted  (Tuesday). The document was submitted to the House late after the plenary. I submitted it yesterday but the Senate received theirs today (Wednesday),” he said.

The N10.59 trillion 2020 budget passed by the National Assembly in December last year was slashed to N10.52 trillion, a difference of about N71.5 billion.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had last week after the virtual Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting said that as the Government cut the size of the budget, new expenditures were also added to enable it adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahmed said that while the Federal Government will fund the budget by N5.158 trillion, the deficit from N5.365 trillion will be financed by both domestic and foreign borrowing.

A top source at the Senate who preferred not to be named said the Senate President had asked members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, chaired by Senator Barau I. Jibrin, to immediately commence work on the document.

It was also gathered that relevant committees will immediately commence interaction with Ministers on the document.

Lawan had before closing the plenary for the Sallah break assured that the Red Chamber would be ready to consider the revised 2020 budget if sent to it by the Executive during the break.

He said: “Once we receive the 2020 budget cut from the Presidency in the course of the Sallah break, we will circulate it among all the senators and also give them one or two days to study the document before we will now reconvene and consider the revised 2020 budget estimates.”

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