The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 which he signed into law on Friday and his regime’s N2.3trn stimulus programme have put the government in a better position to safeguard the economy.
Buhari said this shortly after signing the revised 2020 budget in the presence of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, among others at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The revised budget provides for an aggregate expenditure of N10.81tn, which is an increase of N216bn over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act.
The President said he had directed effective implementation of the revised budget so that its objectives could be achieved.
He said, “The 2020 Amended Budget, which I have just signed into law today, underscores our administration’s firm commitment to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihood of our people.
With these budget amendments, as well as our recently launched N2.3tn stimulus programme, we are well-positioned to safeguard the economy.
“Considering recent budget implementation challenges, I have directed that efforts be made to ensure effective implementation of the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 in order to realise its laudable objectives.
“All ministers are to ensure that their ministries, departments and agencies intensify capital project delivery efforts and fully cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to achieve the laudable objectives of the budget.”
Buhari said his regime had nevertheless made some progress in the implementation of the Appropriation Act 2020.
He disclosed that as of May 31, 2020, N253.33bn had been released for the implementation of capital projects.
He said the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning was in the process of effecting budgetary releases that would ensure that all MDAs receive at least 50 per cent of their amended capital budgets by the end of this month.
Buhari said it became necessary for his regime to revise the 2020 budget in response to recent developments, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that crude oil prices in the world market declined sharply from a high of $72.20 per barrel in January 2020 to below $20 per barrel in April 2020, and had since remained around $40 per barrel.
While noting that Nigeria’s crude oil production quota had been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to strengthen the oil market, the President said global trade had generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “All these developments are plunging the global economy into recession, and Nigeria has not escaped the impact of this. In effect, the assumptions underlying the 2020 Appropriation Act are no longer sustainable.
“It is therefore imperative to adjust our expected revenues, considering the widespread disruptions in domestic and international economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the containment measures taken in response thereto.
“Understandably too, we needed to reallocate resources in the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 to ensure effective implementation of required health and emergency measures, as well as to mitigate the negative socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”