By Raphael Ekpang
The Senate spoke person, Senator Godiya Akwashiki has said that the senate has fulfilled its promised to the nation that it was going to facilitate the passage of the budget in order to return the nation to January-December budget circle.
Sen. Akwashiki who spoke to journalists at the national assembly, Abuja shortly after the senate passed the 2020 appropriation bill, insisted that the 9th assembly by this feat has demonstrated that they are out to better the lives of Nigerians, stressing that January-December budget circle will in no doubt offer the executives the opportunity for a full budget implementation.
“This week we have taken three major decisions as a senate even though there are not the only decisions we have taken, but I feel that they are more important than others.
“One, among the three decisions is the report on Independent Electoral Commission, INEC on the confirmation of the appointment of resident commissioner of INEC, the senate confirmed Umar Gajiran (Borno state) and Mr. Alalibo Johnson (Bayelsa state), and Ibrahim Olalekan Raheem (Osun) was stepped down.
“The two among the three decisions was the report on the Public Procurement Act 2007 amended 2019/SB/106109158 the bill was read the third time and was passed by the 9th senate.
“And three among the decisions was the reports of the committee on appropriation bill 2020 that President Buhari sent to the 9th senate for them to confirm as to what will happen to Nigeria and Nigerians in 2020, that bill was debated yesterday and today (Thursday) we have discussed it and by the grace of God we have passed it,” he said.
According to him the inadequacies of the Public Procurement Act 2007 were largely responsible for the very low level of budget implementation recorded annually, and the leakages in various agencies of government.
Akwashiki insisted that the passage of the budget is one thing and another thing is for them (Senators) to carry out their oversight functions to enable them follow up the proper implementation of the budget because if the budget is not well implemented the essence is defeated.
“We cannot rate 2019 budget again because by the passage of this budget which will return the nation to January-December budget circle like its obtained in other climes, most of the items have been carried over to the 2020 budget.” He stated.
However, the senate passed N10.6 trillion (10,594,362,364,830) on Thursday.
The budget was increased from N10.33 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 8 to N10.6 trillion (10,594,362,364,830).
In the report presented by Sen. Barau N560.47 billion is for statutory transfers (a category into which the National Assembly budget falls).
While the Senate maintained Nigeria’s daily oil production rate at 2.18 million per barrel, it, however, increased the Oil Benchmark Price to $57 per barrel against the $55 proposed by the Executive.
The committee retained the inflation rate at 10.81 per cent and the exchange rate at N305-$1 as proposed by the executive. It also retained GDP Growth Rate at 2.93 per cent as proposed.
Mr Jibrin said the committee worked harmoniously with the Executive for the processing of the bill.
The Senate passed the budget with the breakdown as follows:
Statutory transfer – N560,470,827,235
Debt service – N2,725,498,930,000
Recurrent expenditure – N4,842,974,600,640
Capital expenditure – N2,465,418,006,955
Fiscal Deficit – N2.28 trillion
Deficit/GDP – N1.52 per cent
Sen Barau explained that the increase allows for intervention in critical areas like security, infrastructure, mines and steel development, social development, among others.
This, he said, is in line with the budget thrust of the government “which is focused on growing development and sustainable growth.”