The Federal Government is on course to ensure that the 2021 Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly is passed before the end of the year.
Mr Ben Akabueze, the Director-General of the Budget Office, stated this during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday.
He noted that the budget defence by various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) before the lawmakers has been going on smoothly so far.
“It is going reasonably well, there is a commitment on both sides to get this done, and when issues arise for those issues to be sorted out promptly.
“So, we believe that we are on course to have the budget passed before the end of the year,” the economist said.
He also clarified the controversy sparked by his recent comments on workers’ salaries when he appeared before a committee of lawmakers.
The Budget Office chief stated that he was quoted wrongly by saying that the nation was broke and could not afford the salary of workers in the Federal Civil Service.
He said, “I was shocked at the reportage of that, especially in the print media yesterday. In fact, one had a blazing headline ‘we are broke’; I never said anything like that.
“Basically, what it is, is that at the time we were preparing the 2020 budget, the negotiations for the minimum wage were ongoing and being finalised. So, the 2020 personnel budget for MDAs was based on the old salary structure.”
He explained that the government had to make a provision in the service-wide vote to be able to deal with the situation which he said was anticipated would occur towards the end of the year.
Akabueze insisted that the government was in control of the situation where MDAs would be unable to pay salaries, stressing that 428 of them had been identified.
He gave an assurance that the affected MDAs would get the needed funds from the service-wide vote to pay the salaries of their personnel for November and December 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented the proposed 2021 Budget of N13 trillion to the National Assembly on October 8.
He is confident that the bill, termed Budget Of Economic Recovery and Resilience, will address key economic issues as the country tries to recover from the impact of the coronavirus and the oil price drop.
The President stated that his administration was determined to accelerate Nigeria’s economic recovery process amid the revenue generation challenges.