‘Why 2021 Budget is critical’

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BUDGET 2021 is critical to the delivery of the Buhari government legacy projects, the President said on Thursday.

Besides, the Budget is designed to stimulate domestic economic activities and create jobs, he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari spoke after signing the 2021 Appropriation Bill on the last day of 2020. He also signed the 2020 Finance Bill, which complements the budget.

It is the second consecutive year that the budget is being signed before end of the year to facilitate the January to December budget cycle.

Thursday’s brief ceremony at Aso Villa was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; House of Representatives Speaker  Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.

The National Assembly on December 21 passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill with an aggregate expenditure of N13, 588, 027,886, 175 trillion.

It comprises total Capital Supplementation of N1,060,751,051,650 and total Capital Expenditure of N4,125,149,354,222, Statutory Transfer stands at N496,528,471,273; recurrent Expenditure of N5,641,970,060,680 and Gross Domestic Product, GDP growth rate of 3.00 Percent.

The National Assembly also provided N3,324,380,000 trillion for debt servicing

The lawmakers increased the budget by N505, 607,317,942 from the estimate of N13, 082, 420, 568,233 presented to the joint sitting of the National Assembly by the President on October 8.

The President explained that in designing the 2021 Budget, government deliberately chose to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy, reiterating that it will accelerate economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy.

He said: “As you are all aware, our economy recently lapsed into its second recession in four years. I mentioned during the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill that we intend to use the budget to accelerate our economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy. All Ministers are to ensure that their supervised Ministries, Departments and Agencies achieve the objectives set for their sectors.”

He spoke on the budget stimulating domestic economic activities, create jobs and help in delivering the administration’s legacy projects.

Some of these legacy projects are critical infrastructure like the Lagos –Ibadan Expressway, The Second Niger Bridge, The East-West Road, and the various rail projects all at different stages of completion.

To be able to fully fund the budget, the President charged all revenue generating agencies and all ministries, departments and agencies to meet their target revenue generation plans.

He said the administration is intensifying domestic revenue mobilisation so there would be enough to fund the budget.

He warned heads of agencies and departments that have not been meeting their assigned targets to buckle up as sanctions would henceforth attend non-performance.

He encouraged all Nigerians, especially those in the business class, to fulfill their own responsibility in the task of realizing the goals of the budget by ensuring prompt payment of their taxes.

READ ALSO: Full text of President Buhari’s new year broadcast

On budget implementation and monitoring, the President urged civil society organisations to play its natural role of monitoring implementation, and directed ministries and government agencies to scale up their monitoring and implementation mechanisms.

“The 2021 Budget is very critical to the delivery of the legacy projects of our Administration. To fully achieve our objectives, the effective implementation of the 2021 Budget is imperative.

“Therefore, I have directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning should adopt all necessary measures in this regard to achieve the objectives of the Budget, including the targeted release of capital votes.

He commended the National Assembly “for the steady support in safely steering our economy during these very challenging times.”

He added: “ I remain committed to sustaining the partnership with the Legislature to jointly deliver on our mandate from our people.”

He described the 2020 Budget performance, as being at ”an impressive rate” of 97.7 per cent, “ which he described as “commendable outcome underscores the importance of our efforts, together with the Legislature, to return to the discipline of a January-to December fiscal year.”

He explained that in spite of the adverse impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the nation’s economy and the government’s revenues, the administration had made appreciable progress in the implementation of the 2020 Budget.

“As at December 2020, we had released about One-point-Seven- Four-Eight Trillion Naira (N1.748 trillion) out of a total of the One-Point-Nine-Six- Two Trillion Naira (N1.962 trillion) voted for the implementation of critical capital projects, representing a performance of about Eighty-Nine-point-One Per cent (89.1%),” he stated.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the ceremony, Lawan described the event, whereby budget is passed and signed to law before the New Year, two consecutive years, as a historic and memorable one.

He expressed the legislature’s desire and commitment to ensuring that the Budget works as planned.

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