National Assembly Passes 2021 Budget, Raises It By N505bn

File photo of the 2021 budget during the presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari on October.

 

The National Assembly has passed the 2021 budget raising the proposed estimate of N13.082 trillion to N13.588 trillion. 

This is an increase of N505 billion from the proposed figures presented by the executive.

This budget was passed on Monday by both the Senate and the House of Representatives during their special plenary held mainly to pass the budget ahead of the Christmas and New Year break.

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The lawmakers are sticking to the $40 per barrel benchmark price of crude but asked President Buhari to send a supplementary budget because of the increase in oil price in the international market which is hovering between 47-50 dollars per barrel.

This supplementary budget is expected to fund critical areas in the country.

Key assumptions in the 2021 budget include:

Statutory transfer- N496.528 billion

Recurrent expenditure- N5.641 trillion

Capital expenditure- N4.125 trillion

Debt servicing- N3.324 trillion

GDP growth rate – 3.00%

President Muhammadu Buhari had submitted a N13.082 trillion budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on October 8th, 2020.

The 2021 budget is christened the budget of economic recovery and resilience aimed at accelerating the pace of Nigerian economic recovery, promote diversification, enhance competitiveness, and ensure social inclusion.

Nigeria Should Invent Structures To Fight Corruption – PDP Member

CorruptionA member of the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Adetokunbo Pearse, has recommended that Nigeria should invent structures that will fight corruption proficiently rather than going after individuals.

While assessing the corruption fight on Sunrise Daily on Thursday, the senior lecturer in the Department of English, University of Lagos, said that ”Nigeria needs structures that are deterrent.

“What we need to do is to restructure, find structures that can actually fight corruption, not go after individuals. For instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is a structure in place, there are others that are fighting corruption.

“What we need now, we know that EFCC can do its job and is having problems (everybody is saying this is abusing people’s civil rights) because of the way they are going about it,” he said.

Adopt Better Ways

The PDP member condemned the alleged arms fund diversion but maintained that the Federal Government could have adopted better techniques to achieve its aim.

“Any fair minded Nigerian would applaud the effort to curb corruption and secondly, when you hear that money that should have been spent on the military is being used to fund elections is very disturbing. The way the President is going about it, I think, is very faulty and we need to comment on that so that maybe we can adopt better ways and achieve much more.

“The President seems obsessed with this fight of corruption to the detriment of development in other areas. Bad as what Colonel Sambo Dasuki has done and much as this money ($2.1 billion) appears, it will not cripple the Nigerian economy of six trillion Naira. Let us put that in perspective so that we do not spend so much time talking about one thing as if that is going to solve all our problems,” he said.

Change The Laws And Abide By The Law

Mr Pearse was also of the opinion that the war against corruption cannot be won without legislation, adding that the laws should be changed to prevent looting of the nation’s resources.

“When the Director of IMF came, one of the suggestions she made is what I have always advocated and that is that we cannot fight corruption or do anything without legislation. Without proper structures, it is a waste of time because I tell you, after Dasuki, there will be more and more.

“We need to change the laws and abide by the law. I am talking about before people get to the position where they can begin to loot, there must be ways to screen them out,” he said.

The academic maintained that Nigeria should concentrate on developing systems to fight corruption and let the systems work themselves, stressing that some other political office holders ought not to be in such positions.

“There are a lot of people in the National Assembly, there are a lot of people who are governors and there are people who have even become presidents as well who have no right to be in public services because they have a criminal background. They have a shady background and yet we are not addressing these issues, we are talking about fighting one person or two.

He also said Nigeria should be focused on developing systems that will work instead of headlining Dasuki everyday in the media.

NASS Inauguration: Saraki Swears In 28 Absent Lawmakers

LawmakersNigeria’s newly elected Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has sworn in 28 lawmakers who were absent from the National Assembly inauguration.

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasua, administered the oath of office on the 28 Senators-elect on Wednesday.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, were elected on the floor of the red chamber on Tuesday, contrary to the desire of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Despite the party’s displeasure with the election of Saraki, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his readiness to work with the elected Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

He noted that he did not have any preferred candidate for the Senate and the House of Representatives, adding that he is willing to work with whoever the lawmakers elected.

Treachery

The APC had, at a straw poll, chosen Senator Ahmed Lawan as the party’s candidate for the Senate President’s position and Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, as the Speaker of the 8th National Assembly. None of the choice candidates was elected for the position in the Tuesday election, a development that the APC described as treachery.

To further push the party’s displeasure with the process that brought Senator Saraki in, some APC Senators earlier on Wednesday threatened to take all necessary political and legal means to challenge Senate Presidents’s emergence.

Senators Will Resist Imposition Of Leaders – Sani

SaniSenator-elect representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, says the incoming 8th National Assembly will not be a rubber stamp of the executive.

Mr. Sani told journalists at his campaign office in Kaduna State, that the incoming Assembly would be different from the outgoing one, which he alleged was virtually pocketed by the executive.

He maintained that only men of integrity and good reputation would be elected to lead the incoming Senate, adding that the leadership positions would be purely based on merit.

The senator-elect explained that the era of imposing leadership in the Senate is over, and that the crop of elected members would not succumb to such undemocratic system of governance.

He stressed that the incoming Senate would ensure the normal democratic election process of the next Senate President, and other principal officers will follow the same pattern.

Mr. Sani assured the people of the South-East and South-South regions of equal treatment with the remaining parts of the country under the leadership of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

He also appealed to northerners not to see General Buhari as a northern President who should concentrate development only in their region, but as the leader of every part of the country.

Meanwhile, the human rights activist has appealed to the President-elect to scrap the National Scholarship Programme for students initiated by the outgoing Jonathan administration on the basis that the programme does not reflect federal character, equity and justice.

He also called on the President-Elect to revoke the pipeline surveillance contract that was awarded to former Niger Delta militants.