Written by Sarah NEGEDU

2019 budget: Executive to lobby 9th NASS

The incoming cabinet of the federal executive may require the support of the national assembly to bridge the huge deficit in the 2019 budget in order to properly implement the budget.

The immediate past minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, had hinted that President Buhari would engage the leadership of the ninth NASS to effect any necessary amendments to ensure the budget was implemented.

The 2019 Appropriation Bill was presented to NASS by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 19, 2018, passed by NASS and transmitted to the President on May 9 and signed into law on May 27, 2019.

Udoma during the public presentation of the approved 2019 budget, said that the 2019 budget has a funding gap of N102 .83 billion due to the additions made by the National Assembly.

He said that by increasing the size of the budget and reducing proposed borrowing, NASS created the unfunded deficit.

“Executive revenue assumptions were generally approved and adopted by NASS, except for unexplained increases totaling N31.5 billion on some non -oil revenue lines.

“NASS increased the budget size from N8.83trillion to N8.92trillion translating to an increase of N90.33 billion.

“This has resulted in an overall increase of N58.83 billion in deficit. Inexplicably, NASS reduced the proposed borrowing from N1.649 trillion to N1.605 trillion, thus creating an overall unfunded deficit of N102.83 billion.

“To fully fund the budget, the level of borrowing may therefore have to increase.”

He said that the overall budget deficit was N1.918 trillion as against N1.859trillion in the executive proposal, representing 1.37 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Udoma added that the deficit would be funded mainly by borrowing N1.605trillion split equally between domestic and foreign borrowing.

According to him, allocations for some executive projects based on critical appraisals and linked to the Economic, Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, have been reduced and a large number of new projects, mainly constituency type projects have also been introduced.

The former Minister said that the President would also seek the support of NASS to ensure a smoother, faster budget process that would return the nation to a January-December fiscal year.

For revenue, Udoma said it was projected at N6.97trillion, consisting of oil revenue projected at N3.73trillion while non-oil revenue was estimated at N1.39trillion.

He said that the estimate for non-oil revenue consisted of N799.52billion from Companies Income Tax, N229.34billion from VAT and Customs Duties of N302.55billion.

According to Udoma, the Federal Government has also sustained its efforts to improve public financial management, through the comprehensive implementation of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GIFMIS, and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.

 

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