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2020 Budget: Senate blames self over failing economy

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The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday explained what looks like a ‘necessary mistake, but an error with caution to do what is right to save the nation’s economy.
by allowing the capital aspect of the 2020 budget run till March while the 2021 budget runs its January to December cycle.

The Senate pointed out that the country would suffer financial hemorrhage, if it doesn’t allowed the implementation of the 2020 capital budget to run till March 31st 2021.

Explaining Senate’s position after Wednesday’s debate, Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru noted that about 70% capital of capital funds have been released, and it was proper that projects captured under that component should be allowed execution, rather than opting for a refund to avoid fraud.

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Speaking at a press conference, he said:
“If that extension is not done, the country would lose the chance to complete the capital projects in the 2020 budget, funds of which have been released that would have been returned to the treasury without the amendment at the full cycle of the 2020 budget on December 31st, 2020.

Ajibola explained that wednesday’s decision hinged on section 4 of the of 1999 constitution to make law for the good of the people of the country and to ensure the benefit of implementation of the capital aspect of the 2020 appropriation act is not lost on Nigeria.

“Of course we would be able to derive the benefit of the stimulation of the economy.
As it were the bill has passed both the first, second and the third reading and is also being concurrently considered by the House of Representatives.

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He said the 9th senate has been committed to working in the area of supporting the economy.

“The effect of COVID-19 would have been more bitting economically if not that the national Assembly decided to reverse the budget circle to January to December before the lockdown occurred in 2020.

“It actually helped us to be ready for the pandemic and the expeditious consideration of the ammendment immediately after the lockdown had been eased also facilitated the easing of the economy.

“The 2020 appropriation act was passed ahead of January 1st commencement of implementation and section 12 of that law provided that the period for expiration of the appropriation act 2020 was January to December 31st 2020 but you also know that because of the COVID-19 pandemic with the attendant lockdown of the economy and the society for months.

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“Of course the drawback of the pandemic also affected the price of crude in the international market. This necessitated the amendment of the appropriation act, ammendment of the Medium Term Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper and slight ammendment of the finance act 2020.

“As it were as at today the release for the implementation of the capital expenditure of the budget is between 75%and 100%.
“In that regard the remaining period of this year would not allow for full utilisation of funds already released.

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