By Henry Omunu & Isa Mohammed:

The National Assembly yesterday passed the 2010 Appropriation Bill by jerking it up to N4,608, 676,276, 213 trillion, made up of capital expenditure of N1, 853,906,761,420 trillion, recurrent expenditure of N2, 077, 358, 560, 347 trillion and debt servicing provision of N497,071,797,452 billion, while N180,279,158,994 billion is reserved for statutory transfers. The figure is N193 billion higher than the N4.415 trillion proposed by the executive arm of government for the fiscal year 2010.

Both chambers of the National Assembly passed the budget at separate sittings after considering the reports of their committees on appropriation headed by Senator Iyiola Omisore and Rep. Ayo Adeseun.

Passing the harmonised budget yesterday, the Senate and the House of Representatives pegged the crude oil benchmark at $67 per barrel based on a production output of 2.350 million barrels per day with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) put at 5. 47 per cent, inflation rate of 11. 2 per cent and exchange rate of N150 to the Dollar.

To finance the budget, the Federal Government is expected to generate N9.56 billion as proceeds from the sale of government properties; privatisation proceeds of N107.208 billion; funding from the excess crude account amounting to N309.13billion; Federal Government’s share of signature bonus for the 2010 bid rounds of N132.312 billion; international bonds of N75 billion and domestic borrowing of N897.3billion while the budget deficit is estimated at N1.521 trillion.

However, in passsing the budget, the House of Representatives expunged the provision which provides for the creation of a special account by the Federal Government to be domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Senate made no reference to the special account, even though, it was contained in the report presented by the Senate Committee chairman on Appropriation, Senator Omisore.

According to the National Assembly, this year’s budget is based on “government’s determination to stimulate the economy out of the recent global economic crisis through targeted fiscal interventions. It is anchored on transforming the socio-economic fortunes of the Nigerian people and security of lives through the provision of infrastructural facilities, and by its very design, the budget is embossed with a clear cut, and measurable deliverable services that MDAs have to undertake on behalf of the Nigerian citizenry.”

Speaking after the 2010 budget was passed, Senate President David Mark said the National Assembly must insist that the budget be implemented in its entirety because “very often we have budgets that have not being implemented.”

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