PRESENTATION OF 2021 BUDGET TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND REPS DECRY RAISING RECURRENT EXPENDITURE, DEFICITS.

President, Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2021 Appropriation Bill before the parliament today.

At the ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari said revenue generation to fund annual budgets has been the greatest challenge being faced by his regime.

Buhari, in his speech, while presenting the 2021 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday, said supervising ministers had been ordered to ensure strict monitoring of revenue-generating agencies under their supervision.

The President emphasised that “revenue generation remains our biggest challenge.”Meanwhile, the National Assembly will be funded with N128 billion in 2021.

This is as Buhari admitted that the Federal Government is spending more on recurrent expenditure.

The President blamed this on non-existent personnel (ghost workers) and unauthorised allowances introduced by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

He, therefore, ordered heads of the MDAs to get approval before any recruitment.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, had said the National Assembly is ready to pass the 2021 Appropriation Bill before the end of 2020.

Lawan made this known in his opening remarks before Buhari was called to lay the national budget before the joint session of the National Assembly.

The Senate President recalled how the parliament promised to pass the 2020 budget before the year ended, which was achieved.

“The National Assembly is ready to pass the 2021 budget before the end of the year, by the grace of God,” Lawan said.

Few days after the presentation Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday debated the general principles of the 2021 Appropriation Bill, raising concerns over deficit and borrowing plan to finance the budget.

Several members also criticised the rising recurrent expenditure by the Federal Government at the detriment of capital projects.

While some lawmakers called for a proper rejig of the budget to reflect the current economic realities, others raised concerns on the feasibility of the proposal.

Leading debates on the budget, the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, noted that the Federal Government was able to achieve between 50 to 60 per cent implementation rate.

Several lawmakers across party lines, who spoke after Ado-Doguwa, raised various issues concerning the budget.

In his submission, Abdulrazak Namdas said, “This budget, which is christened ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience’, in my view, is handicapped.”

Namdas said, “I can say that the little worrisome thing in this 2021 budget is that we just have to borrow, which means that we are going to finance our budget through borrowing, and we are expected to borrow close to N4.7tn.”

“My advice on the 2021 budget is that since we have a deficit, the borrowing should be more or less internal or domestic borrowing. Again, we have to reduce cost of governance.

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