Sale Of Govt Assets Will Benefit Nigerians, Boost Economy – Finance Minister

 

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on Friday, said the Federal Government’s planned sale of public assets will benefit Nigerians and help to boost the economy.

In an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mrs Ahmed, who is also the Minister of Budget and National Planning, said some government assets are currently moribund and provide little or no value to Nigerians in their current state.

“There are some government assets that are dead that can be sold to the private sector to be reactivated and put to use for the benefit of Nigerians,” the Minister said.

READ ALSO: SERAP Asks NASS To Stop Buhari From Selling Govt Properties

“So we are looking at different – and I am a member of the National Council on Privatisation – we are looking at different categories of government assets that government has not been able to manage, that are lying down and in some cases even completely rundown, to cede them off to the private sector.

On January 12, Mrs Ahmed had revealed the government’s plan to sell public assets to partly finance the N13.58 trillion 2021 budget.

On Friday, Ms Ahmed stressed that the “intention is not just funding the budget, it is to reactivate these assets and hand it over and have them bring contributions to the growth in the economy.”

A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.
A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.

 

She added that the Bureau of Public Enterprises will begin to coordinate with other arms of government on the asset sales in the first quarter of the year.

” . . . in the last week of December, we had a meeting of the National Council on Privatisation where we approved the annual work plan, the 2021 work plan, for that Bureau of Public Enterprises,” she said.

“And I guess it is in this first quarter that the BPE will now be engaging the Senate committee and other committees they work with to say this is our work plan for the year.”

In a statement on Sunday, civil society group SERAP had asked the National Assembly to stop the federal government from selling public assets to fund the 2021 budget.

The group said the government should, instead, look to identify areas in the budget to cut, such as salaries and allowances for public officials.

 

‘Nothing new’

On Monday, Osun State Lawmaker had defended the federal govrnment’s plan to sell public assets to fund the budgets.

“The issue of the sale of assets is not new,” he said during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“Even in the previous budgets, there have always been other sources of revenue and the sales of assets is one of such.”

But he stressed that the government must be transparent throughout the process.

“ . . . the critical issue we need to look at, is ‘What assets are we selling?’ Some assets are already liabilities, so what are we keeping them for? That is my humble opinion,” the lawmaker added. “You have to tell us which assets we are looking at.”

A deficit budget

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2021 budget into law in late December after it had been passed by the National Assembly.

About one-third of the budget is devoted to capital expenditure but critics maintain the government hasn’t done enough to curb unnecessary spending, especially around cuts in salaries and allowances for public officials.

With oil revenues still affected by the pandemic, the government has said it will borrow N5.6 trillion from domestic and foreign lenders to fund the budget.

The sale of moribund assets is expected to provide additional funding.

The National Arts Theatre and the Tafawa Balewa Square are some assets that could be put up for sale by the government.

FG, States’ Budgets Are Too Small To Address Needs Of Nigerians, Says Akabueze


The Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, has advised the government at the federal, state and local government levels to adequately address the needs of the people.

Akabueze, who featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, decried that the budgets were insufficient to meet the expectation of Nigerians.

He also stressed the need for more revenue generation aimed at improving the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Our tax with GDP ratio is about the lowest in the whole world, not even talking about Africa.

“So, our budgets, not just of the federal, but of the sub-national governments are way too small to be able to address our needs in the way that people expect,” the budget office chief said.

He added, “Unfortunately, in the last five years, we have found ourselves first in recession in 2016 and just as we were turning the curve, the COVID-19-induced recession and during a recession, it is difficult to grow revenues.”

The Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on January 5, 2021.

According to Akabueze, the national budget does not equate to the Federal Government’s budget as perceived by most people.

He stated that all the analysis was always focused on the Federal Government’s budget, but the reality was that an aggregate of the budgets of the Federal, state, and local governments was way below the threshold where it should be.

The economist revealed that the aggregate public spending, as a percentage of Nigeria’s GDP, was about 50 per cent of the African average.

He explained that this was so because the nation’s public sector revenues were half of the African average.

Akabueze stated, “When people are talking about how much we are spending on education, they are talking about how much the Federal Government is allocating, whereas education is a matter on the concurrent legislative list… people really don’t look in that direction and expect the Federal Government’s budget to solve every problem.

“So, every community in the country is looking to see some provision for it in the Federal Government’s budget and it really cannot be that way.”

Zulum Signs ₦248 Billion Budget Into Law For 2021

A file photo of Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum. Photo: [email protected]

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum has signed into law, the 2021 appropriation bill passed by the State House of Assembly.

Speaking on Monday at the Government House in Maiduguri after signing the budget, the governor asked all ministries, agencies and departments to comply strictly with the provisions of the 2021 appropriation law.

Zulum also directed his cabinet members to accelerate activities in their ministries for the people of the state to derive maximum benefit.

He also reiterated his administration’s commitment to prioritising security, education, healthcare, agriculture, provision portable water as well as reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of internally displaced persons and refugees.

The governor expressed appreciation to the leadership and members of the House of Assembly for their cooperation with the executive arm.

READ ALSO: FG To Kick Off 774,000 Jobs Scheme On Tuesday, Says Keyamo

The budget was however increased from ₦208 billion proposed by Zulum, to ₦248 billion, which the House explained was to cater for industrial projects by the Borno plastic industry and the Maiduguri International Hotel amongst several others.

Governor Zulum had in his initial presentation proposed ₦135.1b was for capital projects which represented 65 per cent of the budget sum, and ₦72 billion for recurrent expenditure.

On his part, the Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan explained the increase of the budget from ₦208 billion to ₦248 billion was to cater for industrial growth that will increase job opportunities.

2021: Sanwo-Olu Signs ₦1.16trn Budget Into Law

File photo of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu signing the 2020 budget at the State House in Ikeja on December 31, 2019.

 

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu has signed into law the 2021 budget of ₦1.16trn, noting that his administration will continue its work of rebuilding the state.

Sanwo-Olu, show signed the budget on Thursday reiterated the government’s commitment in advancing economic growth, and expanding opportunities for residents of the state to flourish despite the economic challenges caused by the coronavirus.

“With the passage of the bill, we will continue our work of rebuilding Lagos, advancing economic growth, and expanding opportunities for Lagosians to flourish despite the economic challenges caused by the coronavirus,” he said.

“As we already know, 2020 will go down in history as a peculiar year largely defined by the COVID 19 Pandemic and the ENDSARS protests, which were recklessly hijacked by those who destroyed some of our public assets and private businesses.

READ ALSO: 2021 Budget: Deliver On Revenue Targets Or Get Sanctioned, Buhari Warns MDAs

“We are, however, fortunate to be going into the New Year, with an already passed budget, which will help to expedite our recovery process.

“A significant portion of the budget has been committed to human capital development, youth engagement, social intervention initiatives, and the completion of ongoing projects that are critical to achieving the objectives of our T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.

“The Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget will present to the general public the full details and breakdown of the budget in due course.”

The budget christened the Budget of Rekindled Hope consists of N702,935,416,976 capital expenditure and N460,586,793,741 recurrent expenditure.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

REMARKS BY MR BABAJIDE OLUSOLA SANWO-OLU, GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE AT THE SIGNING OF THE 2021 APPROPRIATION BILL ON THURSDAY 31ST DECEMBER 2020

Protocol

In a moment and on this last day of the year 2020, I will give my assent to the 2021 Appropriation Bill recently passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly.

The quick passage of the bill reflects the harmonious relationship between the State Executive and the Legislature as well as our mutual dedication to the progress of our State and the prosperity of Lagosians.

You will recall that on November 10, 2020, I presented to the House of Assembly the 2021 Appropriation Bill of N1.55 Trillion, which we christened the Budget of Rekindled Hope. The total size of the budget passed by the Legislature now stands at N1,163,522,210,717.00 with capital to recurrent ratio of 60:40. It comprises N702,935,416,976 capital expenditure and N460,586,793,741 recurrent expenditure.

With the passage of the bill, we will continue our work of rebuilding Lagos, advancing economic growth, and expanding opportunities for Lagosians to flourish despite the economic challenges caused by the coronavirus.

As we already know, 2020 will go down in history as a peculiar year largely defined by the COVID 19 Pandemic and the ENDSARS protests, which were recklessly hijacked by those who destroyed some of our public assets and private businesses.

We are, however, fortunate to be going into the New Year, with an already passed budget, which will help to expedite our recovery process. A significant portion of the budget has been committed to human capital development, youth engagement, social intervention initiatives, and the completion of ongoing projects that are critical to achieving the objectives of our T.H.E.M.E.S agenda. The Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget will present to the general public the full details and breakdown of the budget in due course.

I assure you that the 2021 budget will be prudently implemented with the people as our focus because we are determined to provide the right economic environment for Lagosians to thrive. As the world combats the coronavirus, we will make the necessary sacrifices to further place our State on the path of abundance and economic recovery. We are going into 2021 with the unwavering determination to engender sustainable and inclusive growth.

I promise Lagosians that the 2021 Budget will indeed rekindle hope, deliver substantial economic growth, and bolster our efforts to rebuild Lagos. We will make tough choices where necessary and seize opportunities as needed while ensuring that no Lagosian is left behind.

With the enormous challenges of the outgoing year, we are conscious of the fact that in order to efficiently and successfully implement the 2021 Budget, we must be selfless and dedicated. We are up to the task- with our collective resilience, we will achieve our key goals in all sectors, and nothing will stop us from justifying the trust of the people in this Government.

I implore all stakeholders and residents of Lagos, the organized private sector, artisans as well as small and medium-sized business owners not to relent in supporting this government by voluntarily discharging their civic responsibilities. The growth and prosperity we seek can only be collectively achieved.

On our part, we will ensure that the resources entrusted in our care are efficiently and prudently managed. We will be non-discriminatory in the distribution of resources. This is a budget for all Lagosians irrespective of their social, economic, ethnic, or religious background.

I thank the Honorable Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa and the members of the State House of Assembly for the thorough and expeditious consideration of the 2021 Appropriation Bill, which resulted in the passage of the budget before the end of the year. Thank you for collaborating with the Executive to satisfy the yearnings of the electorate.

I wish all Lagosians a prosperous Year 2021.

Thank You

Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu

Governor of Lagos State

31 December 2020

 

 

 

Dubai Cuts 2021 Budget As Pandemic Impacts Economy

A picture taken on March 28, 2020 shows a deserted street in the Emirate city of Dubai amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. KARIM SAHIB / AFP

 

Dubai said Sunday it expects to cut its budget to $15.5 billion in 2021 after its economy was impacted by a plunge in tourism and other sectors amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The emirate, one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates, had posted a record $18.1 billion budget for 2020.

“The newly-announced budget takes into account the exceptional economic conditions of the fiscal year 2020 and the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy,” said a statement by the Dubai Media Office.

Dubai foresees a deficit for the fifth year in a row, of $1.3 billion in 2021. In 2019, it had forecast a $700 million deficit for this year.

The emirate, which depends heavily on tourism and retail services, closed its border for several months due to the pandemic, resulting in a 10.8 percent GDP plunge in the first half of the year.

According to government estimates published earlier this week, the economy will likely contract 6.2 percent this year but is expected to see four percent growth in 2021.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: EU Begins Vaccinations To End Pandemic

The new budget “confirms Dubai’s ability to deal with the crisis, restore the pace of economic growth, strengthen social benefits and essential services,” the media office said.

The government was counting on the six-month Dubai Expo 2020 global trade fair — which was scheduled for October but postponed by one year — to attract millions of visitors.

Tourism has long been an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed more than 16 million visitors last year. Before the pandemic, the aim was to reach 20 million this year.

Dubai is renowned for its skyscrapers, including the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, but its key property sector has been hit since 2014 by lower oil prices.

 

Ganduje Signs N177.9bn 2021 Budget Into Law

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje 

 

Kano state governor Abdullahi Ganduje has signed into law the 2021 budget estimate earlier approved by the state House of Assembly.

While signing the budget at the state government house, governor Ganduje said that the speed at which the house worked on the budget will give him the opportunity to commence execution.

Describing it as a people’s budget, Governor Ganduje said the total size of the budget for the year 2021 as approved by the state assembly is one hundred and seventy-seven billion, nine hundred and thirty-six million, seven hundred and thirty thousand, five hundred and forty naira only which is lower than that of 2020 due to the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, it is not the size of the budget that matters but the implementation and the capacity to generate enough resources as well as the ability to execute the project and programmes as stated in the budget so that we can get at least 90 percent implementation”

Governor Ganduje also informed the speaker that the focus of the 2021 budget is on education and the provision of infrastructural facilities within the metropolitan city of kano and the rural areas of the state.

“Mr. Speaker, we have already made a pronouncement that education in Kano state is free and compulsory from basic to secondary education so that we can make education accessible to all our children in Kano state”

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly Hamisu Chidari said the 2021 budget scaled third reading during a plenary after a public hearing organized by the state assembly and the house unanimously approved the budget.

“Your excellency, I wish to inform you that this budget was approved after we invited all MDA’s for bilateral discussion and finally a public hearing was conducted in which public input was obtained and used into the budget which led to the eventual passing of the bill into law”.

For now, the Kano State Appropriation bill for the year 2021 has become a law, however, the people of Kano state expect speedy implementation as promised by the state government.

Makinde Signs ₦268bn Budget Into Law For 2021

A file photo of Oyo state Governor, Seyi Makinde.
A file photo of Oyo state Governor, Seyi Makinde.

 

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has signed into law the 2021 budget of ₦268bn, noting that it will consolidate his administration’s infrastructure initiatives.

Speaking on Monday during the signing of the document at the Government House in Ibadan, Makinde said that the real implementation of the budget would commence in earnest, as the state targets at least 70 per cent execution.

“Today, we are signing into law our Budget of Continued Consolidation. This completes the first phase of the process for the 2021 fiscal year budgeting. After this signing, the real work of implementation begins,” he said.

“First, we got the good people of Oyo State involved in the budgeting process through the town hall meetings, then we prepared the budget and passed it on-to the state’s House of Assembly for approval.

While commending members of the State House of Assembly for approving the 2021 budget in a timely manner, the governor said the synergy between all the arms of government in the state has made the governance process easier for everyone.

READ ALSO: 2023 Presidency: I Am Focused On Kogi Development, Says Yahaya Bello

He described as untrue the rumours that the lawmakers padded the budget and that the executive rejected it and forced a revision.

Speaking further, Governor Makinde said the 2020 budget fell short of the 70 per cent target but recorded a performance that was a little above average at 50.32 per cent due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic meltdown occasioned by the fall in oil prices.

He pledged that the state government would “work harder and smarter next year to ensure that we meet our performance target of at least 70 per cent.”

“We met a lot of our goals because we used the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA), and the Contractor’s Project Financing Scheme to finance many projects.

“We also made use of targeted loans for project financing. Of course, the reward for hard work is more work. So, for the 2021 fiscal year, we will continue to be innovative and creative in our approach to financing,” he added.

Wike Signs 2021 Budget, Pledges Implementation To Improve Status Of Life In Rivers

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has signed into law the 2021 Appropriation Bill and promised that it will be implemented in providing basic infrastructure for the good of the State.

Signing the 2021 Budget at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt on Thursday, Governor Wike said his administration is working assiduously to sustain the tempo of development that has continued to stand the state out in the federation.

He assured those who have wondered why the on-going projects in their local government areas were not mentioned when he presented the budget to the State Assembly that such projects are already captured as special projects and will be completed.

“So many people have asked why there are no projects in their area. We could not have, in our budget speech, named all the projects. But within the budget, there are many projects and those that cannot be named, we have to put them under special projects.

“Everybody should be rest assured that no local government will be left out as long as the implementation of this budget is concerned. What is important is that we will do all we can to make sure that this Appropriation Law is fully implemented, particularly as regards basic infrastructure that we are supposed to provide for our people.”

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Buhari Fails To Honour Reps Invitation

Governor Wike said the infrastructural revolution in the state is already appreciated across party divide particularly with comments from the chairman of Senate Committee On Work, Senator Adamu Aliero.

“Today, when we went for the 26th meeting of National Council on Works. Senator Adamu Aliero said he wants to tell other states to emulate what’s going on in Rivers state.

“He said that as they were coming, they were so satisfied with what they have seen and Babatunde Fashola, who is the Minister of Works and Housing, said he does not want to talk about the development in the state so that I will not play politics with it. People are seeing the good works we are doing.”

The governor commended members of the State Assembly for the expeditious passage of the bill into law, which indicates their love for the continued development of the state.

“It is not easy to pass these bills into laws in such a short time and I want to commend your efforts. If you’re not interested in the development of the state it will not have been possible.

“We have always said that it is not only for the Executive to see that the state moves forward, it is also for the Legislature and Judiciary. We are lucky that our in-state that the arms of government are working very closely, and doing their own work.

“People should talk about how Rivers State will move forward. I’ve told anybody to challenge us and tell me one local government where there is no state government project. Let us work together and you’ll see our state will be a different state.”

In presenting the bill for signing, the leader of the House, Hon. Martins Amaewhule said the Assembly gave speedy attention to the bills because they will further make life better for Rivers people when implemented.

Speaker of the house, Right Honourable Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani assured that the Assembly will continue to perform its function to complement the efforts of the Executive in providing a secure state for the people.

The bills signed into law include:

Rivers State Appropriation law
No. 25 of 2020.

Rivers State Dehumanising and Harmful Traditional Practices (Abortion) (Amendment) law

No. 11 of 2019

Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (Amendment) law

No. 24 of 2020

Rivers State Security Trust Fund Law

No. 6 of 2020

The Port Harcourt Polytechnic (Amendment) Law

No. 13 of 2019

Rivers State Audit Law

No. 2 of 2020 Rivers State Violence

No 4 of 2020 Rivers State Female Circumcision (Abolition) (Amendment)

No 9 of 2019

Zulum Proposes 2021 Budget Of ₦208bn

Governor of Borno State Babagana Zulum (file photo)

 

The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, on Wednesday proposed the sum of N208 billion for the 2021 budget with 65% allocated to capital projects while 35% was allocated to recurrent expenditures.
The governor, during his presentation at the state assembly in the capital, Maiduguri on Wednesday, proposed ₦135 billion for capital expenditure, ₦72.7 billion for recurrent expenditure.
Zulum also said the budget will be financed from the statutory allocation as and improved internally generated revenue.
Tagged “the People’s Budget of Recovery and Consolidation” Zulum said the budget aims to lay a foundation for the implementation of a 25-year development plan, recently launched by his administration.
The governor in his sectoral allocations announced ₦15.7 billion for reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs and refugees, while ₦16.2 billion was allocated to education.
₦11.7 billion was allocated to works for construction and rehabilitation of roads in many parts of the state, which is to include rehabilitation of Damboa – Biu road, Chibok – Askira Road, Jiddari Polo road, Customs Flyover, Dualization of post office to Gwange Grave yard, Dualization of Customs to Muna road, laying of the Maiduguri – Bama road, urban renewal of Askira and Monguno among others.
The governor also announced an allocation of ₦10.4 billion for healthcare projects including construction of an Orthopedic hospital and funding of ongoing Borno State University Teaching Hospital.
₦9.4 billion was allocated to agriculture, ₦5.7 billion to the Borno State Road Maintenance Agency (BORMA) while ₦4.2 billion was allocated to housing and energy for the construction of a new city estate of 500 houses in Maiduguri and shopping complexes in each of the state’s senatorial district.
Other sectors got lower allocations depending on the budget focus.
The governor also announced a plan to support 100,000 farmers on irrigation farming and to expand its reach to all local governments.
Zulum in his review of the 2020 fiscal year recalled few of the projects executed which included the construction of 22 roads including a road network of 43 kilometers with 30 kilometer of drainage, total overlay of 15 kilometers and ongoing overlay of 13.2 kilometers totaling 71.2 kilometers, adding that the first ever flyover in the state was ongoing in Maiduguri.
He also said 33 Healthcare Centers have been built across the state while seven health facilities including general hospitals have been rehabilitated.
Two maternity hospitals according to him, have also been built.

‘Bandits Have More Budget Than Nigerian Army’: Reps Asks FG For More Funding

Some members of the House of Representatives during plenary on April 28, 2020. Photo: Twitter- @HouseNGR

 

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Namdas, has asked the Federal to increase the funding for the Nigerian Army.

Namdas made this call on Friday during a visit to Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri at the Government House in Yenagoa, adding that bandits have more budget when compared to the Army.

He also lamented that the Army is overstretched and the low budgetary allocations are not helping to boost the fight against terrorism and other security challenges in the country.

“I can tell you on record that the appropriation we have been doing at the National Assembly is really too low for the Army,” he said.

“In 2020 budget, only 34 billion was meant for the capital component. Remember out of this 34 billion, only 50 per cent was implemented meaning only N17 billion was made available to the Nigerian Army for capital.

“That is to say N17 billion needed to procure arms, new vehicles, to build infrastructure, build barracks. In fact, even bandits have more budget than the Nigerian Army the way things are happening.

“If we are to prosecute this war and we are serious about it, we are to do more funding than the Army.”

Namdas’ remarks come a week after the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, called for an improved budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Army.

Ndume who visited the 8th Division Nigeria Army Headquarters Sokoto on November 4 said: “If you check the budget, what they have this year is about N120billion which is grossly inadequate at the time of war.”

“You can’t be in a state of war and you are budgeting less than one percent for the capital of the Nigerian Army.

“It is from that money they are supposed to go to their barracks, buy arms, repair their ammunitions. It doesn’t just add up.”

COVID-19: FG Seeks $750m Loan From World Bank

A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.
A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.

 

As part of efforts to mitigate the effect of COVID-19, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government, is in the process of acquiring a 750 million dollar loan, from the world bank to help states.

This loan according to her is to stimulate the local economy and support vulnerable household consumption.

Mrs. Ahmed disclosed this at the inauguration of the Federal Steering Committees of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) program, in the nation’s capital.

The minister noted that the federal government has created windows of intervention, as captured in the economic sustainability plan inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, in March 2020.

She stressed that in going to borrow the money the federal government is considering the cause and consequences of civil unrest and COVID-19 in the country.

READ ALSO: ASUU Strike: We Are Going Back To The Negotiation Table, Says Ngige

“The consequences will be too high if we ignore the root cause of rising civil unrest in our country. We must, therefore, fashion out ways of ensuring that post-Covid-19 is not injurious to the Nigerian people and the economy,” Mrs. Ahmed stated.

According to her, in a bid to ensure that the implementation of the N-CARES is in line with the federal government priorities as outlined in the ESP, the Federal Steering Committee made up of ministers and permanent secretaries as well as a Technical Committee, made up of directors of key ministries, department, and agencies (MDAs) has to be in place.

The minister stated that the government has carefully selected the “members of the Federal Steering and Technical Committees because of the important role MDAs play in the recovery of the Nigerian economy as well as the fulfillment of lifting 100 million people out of poverty”.

Speaking on the expediency of the inauguration of the committee, the Finance Minister said, “the inauguration of the committees “is expedient given the nature of this emergency intervention; Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa cannot afford to remain in recession; the survival of over 200 million population is germane to all we do and we must address the concerns of the majority of our populace”.

FG On Course To Have Budget Passed Before 2021, Says DG Budget Office

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 Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on November 12, 2020.

 

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 presents the proposed 2021 budget on October 8, 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.