Buhari gives Budget Office marching order on Budget 2020

- in World News

Barring the unforeseen, the 2020 Appropriation Bill would be transmitted to the National Assembly for consideration next week, it was learnt on Tuesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a source told The Nation, has ordered the Budget Office of the Federation to expedite work on the budget so that he can lay it before the National Assembly before the end of this month.

The month ends next Monday.

The Nation learnt that a letter was on Monday dispatched from the President’s Office to the Director-General Budget Office to ensure that the budget gets to the President’s desk for vetting and approval ahead of the transmission to the National Assembly.

According to a source, the Director-General, Budget Office, Ben Akabueze “has gone into closed door sessions with Schedule Officers in the Budget Office to come up with a clean copy of the budget that will be taken to the President.”

The source was optimistic that the 2020 Budget will be submitted to the National Assembly in the coming week.

Details of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) 2020-2022 show that capital expenditure would suffer successive cuts for the three-year period to N1.76 trillion in 2020, despite increases in total expenditure.

On the other hand, recurrent was billed to rise from N3.41 trillion in 2018 to N4.7 trillion in 2019.

The key assumptions of the 2020 Budget Framework, include oil production (2.18 mbpd); oil price ($55/pb); exchange rate N305/$; inflation rate 10.81 per cent; nominal consumption (N122.75) trillion; nominal GDP (N142.96 trillion) and a 2.93 per cent GDP growth rate.

A lower benchmark of oil price of $55/b (against $60/b for 2019) is assumed considering the expected oil glut in 2020, as well as the need to cushion against unexpected price shock.

Also yesterday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the National Assembly was awaiting the presentation of the budget proposals and MTEF/FSP documents by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Lawan had last Friday expressed the eagerness of the National Assembly to get the 2020 budget proposals.

The Senate had urged the President Buhari-led Federal Executive to ensure that the 2020 Appropriation Bill was made ready before the federal lawmakers resume from their recess.

Buhari, Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, have been calling for the country’s return to the January-December budget cycle.

Lawan, specifically told all the ministers-designate, after their confirmation, to cooperate with the parliament to ensure speedy submission, consideration and passage of the budget once they were inaugurated.

On September 4, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had, 2019 announced that, “the 2020 Budget preparation process is well-underway, and we intend to finalise and submit the 2020 appropriation bill to the National Assembly by the end of this month.”

Mrs. Ahmed repeated herself at the presentation of the 2020-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) in Abuja.

At the presentation, Mrs. Ahmed said that the next fiscal year would be challenging.

Earlier in the year, as the 2020 budget preparation commenced, all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government were ordered to get clearance from the Budget office of the Federation (BoF) before they make any new hires or recruitments.

A circular from the BoF tagged: “2020 personnel cost budget call circular BD/2000/EXP/S.651/)” and issued to all MDAs ahead of the submission of the budget, noted that consultants, contract staff, Youth Corps members, industrial attaches, legionnaires and the likes should not be included in the nominal roll as they are not permanent/pensionable staff of the Federal Government.”

The circular, which is another mechanism for easing out ghost workers on government payroll, reads: “Allowances due to Youth Corpers are provided centrally through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) which is the body charged with the responsibility for paying allowances to Corpers. MDAs are not required to include allowances for Youth Corpers in their personnel cost estimates.”

“With regards to the impending new minimum wage payout by government, the circular maintained that “the personnel cost template for all employees currently earning below N30, 000 will be immediately amended and used in preparing the budget for affected grade levels.”

However, for other grade levels, it was revealed that “the existing personnel cost will be used. An omnibus service wide provision will be made to cover the estimated cost of the consequential adjustment as and when negotiations are concluded.”

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