President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 into law in a short ceremony at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Speaking at the event inside the Council Chambers, he said the 2020 budget of N10.8 trillion budget had to be revised because of the effect of coronavirus on the nation’s economy.
The amendment signed is N216 billion over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act
The National Assembly passed the revised budget last month.
It was initially passed in December 2019 but was returned to the legislature after the executive reworked it to reflect the current economic realities occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Buhari remarked that ministries, department and agencies will be given 50 per cent of their capital allocation by the end of the month.
On hand to witness the signing were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila;
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.
Others were the Ministers Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State Finance, Clement Agba, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefile and Director General Budget, Ben Akabueze; Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Hon. Umar el-Yakub, on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
While thanking the National Assembly for the prompt review and passage of the amendments to the 2020 Appropriation Act, President Buhari recalled that he signed the 2020 Appropriation Act into law on Tuesday, 17th December 2019.
He explained: “However, it became necessary to revise the Appropriation Act 2020 in response to recent developments, in particular, the COVID-19 Pandemic. 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 have since remained around $40 per barrel.
“Nigeria’s crude oil production quota has been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to strengthen the oil market. Global trade has generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“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.”
The president said the 2020 Amended Budget underscores his administration’s firm commitment to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihood of our people.
He stated: “With these budget amendments, as well as our recently launched N2.3 trillion Stimulus Programme, we are well-positioned to safeguard the economy.”
President Buhari directed that efforts be made to ensure effective implementation of the budget to realise its laudable objectives, considering recent budget implementation challenges.
He also directed that 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.
He affirmed that government has made some progress in the implementation of the Appropriation Act 2020, noting that as at 31st May 2020, the sum of N253.33 billion has been released for the implementation of capital projects.
Buhari revealed that the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is in the process of effecting budgetary releases that will ensure that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies receive at least 50 per cent of their amended capital budgets by the end of this month.
He further stated: “The Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, that I have just signed into law, provides for aggregate expenditures of N10.81 trillion, which is an increase of N216 billion over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act.”
The president thanked all Nigerians for “their understanding and unflinching support, especially during these difficult times.”