All is set for President Muhammadu Buhari to present the year 2020 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.
This will be the first time the new leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly, Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, will host the president in the parliament.
Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila were, in June, elected Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
According to finance minister Zainab Ahmed, the federal government will propose to the National Assembly about N9.79 trillion as total expenditure in the 2020 budget.
The amount represents an increase of 9.75 per cent over N8.916 trillion budgeted for 2019.
Unlike the previous year where the president was interrupted intermittently by lawmakers with jeers and cheers, he will most likely have a warm reception by the lawmakers.
Follow PREMIUM TIMES for live updates on happenings at the National Assembly during the budget presentation.
11:11 a.m. – Security operatives from the State House scanning round the chamber in preparation of the president’s arrival by 2 p.m.
Some lawmakers are already seated in the Chamber, the Senate plenary is also ongoing.
The event will take place at the House of Representatives Chamber which has the capacity to accommodate members of the two chambers and the president’s entourage.
1:10 p.m. – Guests are arriving the National Assembly complex. Notable amongst them is the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari.
Some other ministers are trooping in one after the other. The Senators had gone into an executive session for about an hour.
1:10 p.m. – Senators are now arriving the House of Representatives chamber, venue of the budget presentation.
They are being led by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.
1:34 p.m.: Senate adjourns plenary to join members of the House of Representatives for the budget presentation.
1:48 p.m. – More dignitaries are trooping into the House of Representatives chamber. Notable amongst them are ministers and Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress.
It is worthy to note that security is relaxed within the complex, compared to previous years where journalists and National Assembly staff are subjected to rigorous security checks.
President Muhammadu Buhari arrives the chamber at exactly 2 p.m.
The guards’ brigade is now rendering the national anthem.
An opening prayer is underway.
All MDAs must defend their budget estimates before relevant NASS committees in October, Senate President Ahmed Lawan says.
Senate President says the parliament is committed to passing the budget “before the end of the year.”
President Muhammadu Buhari is now delivering his speech. He asked to be pardoned because he has a cold as a result of working hard.
President Buhari reels out the economic performance of his administration.
We also succeeded in significantly reducing inflation from18.72 per cent in January 2017 to 11.02 per cent by August 2019, he said.
The receipts from VAT in the last budget year were below expectation, Mr Buhari says giving reasons such as the last general elections.
We met our budget servicing obligations, Mr Buhari says.
The MTEF set out the parameters for the 2020 budget, the president says.
The draft finance bill proposes a VAT increase of 4% to 7.5 %.
Additional revenues will be used to fund health, education and infrastructure, the president says.
President Buhari lists items exempted from VAT to include pharmaceuticals, some food such as fish, white and brown bread, etc.
We shall continue the strict implementation of TSA, President Buhari says.
President Buhari allocates N125 billion for NASS, N110 billion for Judiciary in 2020 budget.
Budget to human rights commission increased by over 50%.
I am confident that the benefits of these new ministries, …, significantly outweighs their budgeted costs – President Buhari
Budgetary allocations to ministries as announced by PMB:
Works and Housing – N262 billion
Transportation – N123 billion
UBEC – N112 billion
Defence – N100 billion
Agriculture – N83 billion
Water Resources – N82 billion
Education – N48 billion
Health – N46 billion
North East Dec Commission – N38 billion
SIPs – N30 billion
FCT – N28 billion
Niger Delta – N24 billion
Budget deficit expected is N2.8 trillion
Buhari takes the stage.
He thanked the lawmakers for the opportunity and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, would release details of the budget subsequently.
We remain resolutely committed to our visions for all Nigerians, he said.
He said expenditure in the 2019 budget was hindered by delay in the budget defence, adding that capital releases commenced in the third quarter.
He urged the National Assembly to stop the unnecessary practice of budget delay to enable the 2020 budget come into effect by 1st January 2020.
The president said he has directed the stoppage of the salary of any federal government staff that is not captured on the integrated payroll and personnel information (IPPIS).
President Buhari says he will forward two petroleum industry bills to NASS very soon. He sought the quick passage of the bills.
I assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive to deepen the relationship with the NASS – President Buhari
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Buhari says as he concludes the budget presentation.
Alongside the bill, the President is presenting a Finance Bill for consideration by the Senate.
The bill, he said, provides for incremental but necessary changes into the fiscal law.
He said the bill seeks to establish a domestic tax law to align with global best practices as well as support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
The president said the 2020 bill is based on the new VAT rate – which will help finance health, education, and infrastructural programmes.
According to the president, the 2020 budget ESTIMATE is N8.156trn. Oil revenue is put at N2.64trn while non-oil revenue is put at 1.81trn.
The president said debt service for 2020 is put at N2.45trn while N125bn allocated to the National Assembly.
A total of N110bn allocated to the judiciary, N37.83bn for the North East Development Commission, N44.5bn for the Basic Healthcare provision fund.
Capital expenditure is put at N721.33bn which, he said, is 23 per cent lower than that of 2019.
The president said the main emphasis is the completion of ongoing projects and commencement of new ones.
He closed by promising that the executive will strive to deepen the relationship with the legislative.
Mr Buhari then proceeded to lay the budget before the lawmakers.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his closing remarks, promised cooperation and speedy implementation on the part of the National Assembly.