The House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, passed the revised 2020 Appropriation Bill of N10.8 trillion, increasing the national budget from the proposed N10.5tn that was sent by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Although the Committees on Appropriations and Finance, whose report was considered and adopted at plenary on Wednesday recommended N10,801,544,664,642, the lawmakers inserted an additional N4bn for the welfare of members of the National Association of Resident Doctors who have threatened strike action.
The lawmakers also approved the request by President Muhammadu Buhari for an external loan of $5.513 billion by the Federal Government (FG).
The Federal Government had planned some cuts on the 2020 budget due to the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic and crash of crude oil prices globally. The FG as a result of that had to revise the oil benchmark for the 2020 budget from $57 per barrel to $25 per barrel. The estimated crude oil production was put at 1.9 million barrels per day.
It must also be noted that Nigeria had agreed to the limit its output to 1.412 million barrels per day as part of the OPEC+ deal to help stabilize the oil market.
In his brief explanation during consideration of the budget, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Muktar Betara said, the increase in the revised budget was to make provisions for interventions to cushion the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country.
The lawmakers also approved the president’s request for $5.513 billion external borrowings.
A breakdown of the loan indicated that the Federal Government intends to borrow $3.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for rapid financing instrument; $1,5billion from the World Bank for development policy financing; $500 million from the African Development Bank for Covid-19 crises response budget support operation and $113 million from the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), to part-finance the 2020 revised budget deficit.
Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to consider the revised budget for passage on Thursday.
In a statement, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the upper chamber would consider the revised 2020 budget on Thursday, after receiving details of some of the N500 billion COVID-19 intervention fund that is part of the budget.
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