FG to spend N1.6bn on Grazing Reserve Development in 2020

By Tony Obiechina, ABUJA

The Federal Government will commence the implementation of the 2020 Budget on January 1, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has disclosed.
The 2020 Budget Bill was signed into law on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Giving a breakdown of the Budget in Abuja, on Thursday, the Minister said with
the timely preparation and passage of the budget which would restore
the normal cycle, implementation would commence on January 1, 2020.
The minister stated that the N10.594 trillion budget with N4.493 trillion recurrent and N2.465 trillion for capital expenditure has a N8.42 trillion revenue target broken down as N2.64 trillion oil
revenue, N1.81 trillion non-oil, and N3.97 trillion from other
sources.
She noted that the projected N8.42 trillion revenue is 3.2 per cent or
N263.94 billion over the executive proposal, and 10.9 per cent more
than  the 2019 Budget of N7.59 trillion) .

According to her, to promote fiscal transparency, accountability and comprehensiveness, the budget of 10 major government-owned enterprises (GOEs) had been
integrated in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s budget with effect from 2020.
Ahmed explained that in aggregate, 44 per cent of projected revenues is to come from oil-related sources while 56 per cent is to be earned from non-oil sources, adding that overall, the size of the budget has been
constrained by relatively low revenues.
The fiscal plan which also has a deficit of N2.175 trillion will be
financed from new domestic borrowings of N744.99 billion and N850 billion foreign borrowings with privatisation proceeds expected to account for N252 billion, she said.
On some of the projects listed for the fiscal year, the minister
disclosed that N210 billion is being provisioned for some road
projects across the six-geopolitical zones.
The budget also has N560 billion provisioned for Statutory Transfer,
N2.453 trillion for debt service, and  N273 billion for debt sinking
fund.

Ahmed disclosed that agriculture and rural development has over N9
billion provisioned for the promotion and development of value chains in more than 30 different commodities.

These include N1.6 billion for National Grazing Reserve Development, N3 billion for Veterinary and Pest Control Services, N7.64 billion for
Rural Roads And Water Sanitation, and N1.02 billion FGN support for
Women & Youth in Agribusiness, among others.In response to questions from journalists, the minster expressed confidence that the finance bill will be signed by the president before the week runs out.

“On the finance bill, we’re expecting that before the week runs out, the finance bill will be sent to the president for assent and our target is that the bill takes effect from January 2020″, she said.
The minister however explained that not all the provisions of the bill will take effect from January 1st as suggested in some quarters, adding that “before any implementation there must be engagement between the Federal Inland Revenue Service and commercial banks in the areas of Tax Identification Number (TIN) among others”.

According to her, the top ten government owned enterprises have been included in the budget so as to help the populace have an understanding of the budget of all the ministries.
 The minister further raised concern on the country’s population growth rate which according to her is a “Source of concern” for government as population rate supersedes growth rate by far.
“Until we reach a level where population growth rate is higher than growth rate for citizens’ benefits, it will still remain a source of concern for government and our aspiration is to grow a Gross domestic product of 7 per cent.

Initially, the target was 2020 but the recession hampered the target, but the country has picked up as we have now grow over 2 per cent, and it is a gradual journey and measures will be put in place to fasten growth rate.

“The president has pledged to take out 100 people out of poverty and every ministry, department and agency of government is committed to contributing it’s quarter to the target”, the minister
stressed.
Asked why some projects in the 2020 budget lacked address, the minister said if there is any project that reporters or civil society organizations are interested in tracing, they can visit the website of the finance ministry and the budget office and make their enquiries from the ministry.
Ahmed who added that the federal government was able to release N1.21trn for 2019 and will not make further releases for the year, however said there are some that are at various stages that will be completed as the 2020 budget is expected to take effect from January 2020.
The finance minister also clarified that capital spending in the 2020 budget is 26.4 per cent of the entire budget and it is below the aspiration for 30 per cent and the federal government is making efforts but the major challenge is revenue.

“However with the passage of the finance bill, PSC and the Inland Basin Act, significant revenue will be realized going forward.

 Ahmed also confirmed that annual provision has been made in the 2020 budget for the national minimum wage and also in December 2019 salary for the payment of arrears for consequential agreement.
 Also speaking the Minster for State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba said to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of federal government budgets in 2020, MDAs are adopting partial technology in monitoring projects
 “To ensure transparency in projection execution, different ministries, departments and agencies of government are employing partial technology to track projects.
 “Also, citizens are being engaged to give feedback in the form of pictures or messages on certain projects going on in the constituency or locality,” he added.  Earlier in his remarks, Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze assured civil society organizations on collaboration and consultations in the budget drafting ahead of the 2021 budget.

“The imperative of citizens participation in the budget process cannot be over emphasized, and so, we have continued to engage the citizens in the process.
” It is in furtherance of this that we have provided platforms for citizens to make observations and upload pictures of ongoing projects through the Citizens Budget app (available for download on the Google Play Store)”, he addled.

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