Lawan, Gbajabiamila meet Ministers on planned 2020 budget review




The Leadership of the National Assembly on Wednesday held a meeting with some Ministers and Heads of agencies from the Executive arm of Government to brainstorm on the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on the Nigerian economy.
The meeting specifically touched on the planned review of the 2020 budget and Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper passed late last year by the National Assembly. 
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the meeting, in his opening remarks said that an immediate review of the 2020 budget and Medium Term Expenditure Framework is imperative, particularly against the backdrop of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on global economy. 
The meeting, which lasted almost four hours, according to Lawan, was summoned to “discuss the proposed review of the 2020 budget and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.”
“If we have to review the budget itself, we have to consider the MTEF/FSP.
“Even in sickness, we need government to provide services. 
“The impact of COVID-19 is well known to all of us in terms of health and the economy. 
“Here, we will be talking of revenues that we estimated to fund the budget 2020. 
“Because the oil price has gone so low due to the impact of COVID-19, the Minister of State should be able to tell us where we will be in the next six months or so.
“We should have concepts that can deliver fast and are sustainable. 
“Anything that we do that can not provide succor and relief to our people will lead to catastrophe,” the Senate President warned.
Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said the meeting was very timely.
“Taking a cursory look at some of the papers(presentations), I think this meeting is actually very timely and very important because we live in very unusual time and it’s time we start thinking outside the box to see how we can stabilise our economy and the direction it’s going to take,” the Speaker said.

In her presentation, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, explained that “prior to COVID-19 and Oil price decline, the Nigerian economy was already fragile and vulnerable.”
According to her, due to the a global economic downturn precipitated by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, international Oil prices plunged as low as $22 (USD) per barrel on the international market. 
She added that the impact of the pandemic which resulted in international crisis created a disruption in travel and trade, and put “increasing pressure on the naira and foreign reserves as the crude oil sales receipts decline and the country’s micro-economic outlook worsens.”

In his presentation, the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele said, “while we would expect to see a decline in our expected growth projection for 2020 relative to 2019, the exact impact will be dependent on how well the corona virus is contained over the next few month, and how long low oil prices persist.”
Members of the National Assembly Leadership present at the meeting include: Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Leader of the House, Ado Doguwa; Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Senate Minority Leader; Enyinnaya Abaribe; Minority Leader of the House, Tony Elumelu; Senate Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Deputy Minority Whip, Philip Aduda. 
Other are Senator Barau Jibrin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations; and Senator Uba Sani, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions.
Members from the Executive present at the meeting which held at the National Assembly include: Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba; Minister of Petroleum Resources (State), Timipre Sylva.
Others are the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Babajide Omoworare

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