President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2021 appropriation bill of over N13,5 trillion into law, just as he warned that sanctions awaits heads of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Port Authority (NPC) and other revenue generating agencies if the country does not realise the revenue target for the budget circle.
Buhari said that the budget would be used to accelerate the country’s economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy considering the impact of the global outbreak of coronavirus that had forced Nigeria to undergo lockdown.
At the signing ceremony held on Thursday at the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja, he added that the budget was designed deliberately to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy that could assist and boost the country’s economy to get out of recession which it slipped into within four years.
Buhari, while appraising the budget, disclosed that it was a deficit budget crafted with specific borrowing plan which would be made public and forwarded to the National Assembly for approval.
According him, the 2021 Budget that I have just signed into law provides for aggregate expenditures of N13.588 trillion, representing an increase of N505.61 billion over the initial Executive proposal.
A breakdown of the increase, however, includes the N365 billion provision for up scaling the Nigeria Social Investment Programme, which was presented after laying the budget before the legislature.
Consequently, the Senate unanimously approved 2021 Appropriation Bill as recommended by the committee with a Statutory Transfer over N496 billion; Reccurrent Expenditure = N5.6 trillion; Capital Expenditure = N4.1 trillion; Debt Servicing = N3.3 trillion; and GDP Growth Rate of 3.00%, with a Total Expenditure of N13,588,027,886,175.
Buhari said: “I am aware of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the 2021 Executive Budget proposal. We will examine these amendments and, where necessary, I will revert to the National Assembly with a request for amendment, virement or other appropriate adjustments to ensure that the core objectives of the Budget are accomplished”.
“In spite of the adverse impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the nation’s economy and the Government’s revenues, we have made appreciable progress in the implementation of the 2020 Budget. As at December 2020, we had released about N1.748 trillion out of a total of the N1.962 trillion voted for the implementation of critical capital projects, representing a performance of about 89.1 percent”, he added.
The president further explained that the budget was very critical to the delivery of his administration’s legacy projects, saying, to fully achieve our objectives, the effective implementation of the 2021 Budget is imperative and I have directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to adopt all necessary measures including release of capital votes.
He added that the government would “ensure timely implementation of the health and emergency measures in the 2021 budget to contain the spread of the virus and we will count on the close collaboration state governments to protect the citizens and other stakeholders to ensure availability of basic food items, as well as other key commodities.
Arguing that the administration expected that the 2021 budget would stimulate domestic economic activities and create employment opportunities, especially for our youth, Buhari disclosed that the government would be intensifying domestic revenue mobilization efforts in order to have adequate resources to fund the 2021 Budget.
“Revenue Generating Agencies, and indeed all Ministries, Departments and Government Owned Enterprises, must work very hard to achieve their revenue targets, control their cost-to-revenue ratios, as well as ensure prompt and full remittance of revenue collections.
“Relevant Agencies are to ensure the realization of our crude oil production and export targets. Heads of defaulting Agencies are hereby warned that they will be severely sanctioned. I also appeal to our fellow citizens and the business community, at large, to fulfil their tax obligations promptly”, the president added.
On the outgoing year budget, Buhari disclosed that it performed stood at 97.7 percent which underscores the importance of collaboration between the arms of government particularly the legislature to return budget circle to January-to-December fiscal year.
According to the president, to ensure full implementation of the 2020 Capital Budget and optimize its contribution to our economic revival efforts, the National Assembly recently approved our request to allow Ministries, Departments and Agencies to continue to expand released funds for their 2020 capital budgets till 31st March, 2021. I would like to express my appreciation to the National Assembly, again, for their gracious understanding and speedy action on this matter.
“Considering recent budget implementation challenges, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is to take all necessary actions to ensure the effective implementation of the 2021 Budget. Ministries, Departments and Agencies are hereby directed to redouble efforts towards implementation of their programmes and projects in ways that promote the greater public good”.