By Johnson Dike, Abuja
On Thursday, the Senate passed the sum of N10.810trillion as revised 2020 budget.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North), explained that:
“While considering the Bill, the Committee received requests from the executive to include inadvertently omitted/inadequate provisions for projects and programmes in the Bill as follows: COVID-19 fund – N186.370bn, Contingency Recurrent – N7.5bn, Contingency Capital – N5bn and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) – N4.099bn.
“The total aggregate recommended is higher than the proposed figure because of the accommodation of the request by the executive for additional funding for COVlD-19, to strengthen the capacity of all the States in the federation to tackle the challenges of the Pandemic, contingency and GAVI/immunization and the restoration/upward adjustments of important and people oriented projects and programmes that were in the 2020 Appropriation Act but were either completety removed or substantially reduced in the Bill.
“It is important to also emphasize the fact that this is a period that Government needs to utilize every available legal, monitory and fiscal policies/instruments to stimulate the economy. This is essentially what the recommendation in this report seeks to achieve.”
He added that the committee in analysing the budget proposals, made the following observations:
“That there were cuts in all items in statutoy transfers, increase in the debt service and general reduction in the overhead component of the budget (excluding the health sector ).
“Others are reductions/zero provision to some projects in the capital component and new provisions on service wide votes and capital supplementation to cushion the socio-economic disruptions and shock of COVID-19.”
Senate President Ahmad Lawan in his address said having been on the same page with the required revised budget, the various Standing Committees of the Senate, should be be prepared to carry out effective oversight to ensure that all allocations made were implemented as passed.
Lawan said: “We must ensure accountability in the execution of the just passed revised 2020 budget in the interest of Nigerians.
“The best way of doing this, is to carry out thorough oversight on both the revenue generating agencies and others executing the budget in one way or the other.”