Senate President Dr. Ahmad Lawan

How Nigeria’s Budget 2020 suffers over $14bn loss: Senate President

*There is an urgent need to focus on other important sectors such as agriculture, solid minerals, steel development and manufacturing towards diversifying the nation’s economy ─Senate President Dr. Ahmad Lawan

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Consequent upon the outbreak of the ravaging Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country’s economy, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, has disclosed that the revised 2020 Appropriation Act has actually suffered over $14 billion loss due to Nigeria’s overdependence on oil.

ConsumerConnect learnt the Senate President, who stated this in his welcome address as the Senate resumed plenary after a two-month vacation, informed his colleagues that the country is faced with a $14 billion revenue shortage during the current fiscal year.

Dr. Lawan said: “We were confronted with over $14 billion revenue gap and the grim reality of an unwholesome overdependence on oil.”

He explained that there is an urgent need to focus on other important sectors such as agriculture, solid minerals, steel development and manufacturing, with a view to diversifying the nation’s economy.

“We need to work with relevant stakeholders to prevent our economy going into a recession, stimulate the economy, save and create more jobs through a sustainable multiplier effect.”

According to Lawan, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the Federal budgetary plans, requiring the review of the 2020 budget and the upper chamber carrying out oversights to ensure that the revised 2020 Budget is properly implemented.

The Senate President said: “The Senate needs to pay particular attention to the implementation of the Federal Government Economic Sustainability Plan.

“This strategic plan is an essential means of revamping our economy, as it provides interventions in the Mass Agricultural Programme, Infrastructure, Mass Housing Programme, and Investments in Healthcare Infrastructure, among others.”

He also announced that President Muhammadu Buhari would next week present the 2021 budget estimate to the joint session of the National Assembly as its Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning had completed work on the 2021-2022 Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTF/FSP) during the vacation.

He said: “Our Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning with Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTF/FSP) during the recess interacted with over 300 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) over the issues of revenue heneration and remittances to the federal government.

“The joint committee is expected to present its report to the Senate today for consideration and this is a precursor to the presentation of the 2021 Budget estimates by the executive arm of government soon.

“I am aware that the executive will be presenting the 2021 Budget estimates by next week.”

According to him, “the Senate will provide a one month window for budget defence by ministries, departments and agencies.

“Like last year, the month of October 2020 will be dedicated for this exercise.

“Subsequent months of November and December will be dedicated to the internal processing of the Budget by National Assembly.

“The various MDAs are, therefore, advised to ensure that they avail themselves the opportunity of the budget defence window to appear with all the relevant and necessary information to defend their budget estimates.

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