By Emmanuel Aziken:

* Vote N1.85trn for capital expenditure

ABUJA—THE National Assembly, yesterday, approved a harmonized N4.6 trillion 2010 budget for the Federal Government directed at boosting infrastructure development across the country.

Underlining its priority for infrastructure development, the budget has set N1.85 trillion representing 40 per cent of the total budget for capital expenditure. It is the highest proportion earmarked for capital development since the return to democratic rule in 1999.

Senate President David Mark

Senate President David Mark and Speaker House of Reps Dimeji Bankole

The provision is, however, less than the N2.077 trillion provided for recurrent expenditure but higher than the N1.521 trillion inherent deficit in the budget.

The budget was pegged on a benchmark of $67 per barrel on crude oil production level of 2.35 million barrels per day with an exchange rate of N150 to the dollar.

Presentation of budget reports
The budget report was presented to the Senate by Senator Iyiola Omisore, chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation and to the House by the House Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Ayo Adeseun.

The harmonized report centered the policy thrust of the budget as the stimulation of the economy. It affirmed: “The 2010 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 is measurable. It is deliverable in terms of public goods and services that MDAs have to undertake on behalf of the Nigerian citizenry.”

The budget has earmarked N91 billion for the National Judicial Council, N35.6 billion as the Federal Government’s funding for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, N44.3 billion for the Universal Basic Education, UBE, Scheme and another N9.3 billion as the 2009 arrears of the NDDC.

The Federal Government is expected to service its domestic debts with N463 billion while another N33.9 billion is provided for foreign debts.

The top ten spending ministries as approved yesterday were as per table on …..

The N4.608 trillion budget is to be financed by a total retained federal revenue of N3.086 trillion leaving a deficit of N1.521 trillion which is to be financed through the sources as detailed on the table above.

Giving the National Assembly’s determination to boost infrastructure in the country, the report deposed that downward revisions were made in the recurrent budget proposals of the Federal Government in order to boost provisions for capital savings.

The N1.853 trillion capital budget is N831bn more than the provision made for capital in the 2009 budget approved by the National Assembly.

Noting the delay in the processing of the 2010 budget, the report as presented noted repeated revisions by the Presidency in the processing of the budget.

It said: “Whilst the exercise was going on, the executive drew our attention to additional funding requirements. The additional requests came by way of amendments and replacement of existing figures and new allocations. All these were accommodated in our final computation. In doing this, we see budgeting as a national exercise in which the Executive and the National Assembly must collaborate in the overall interest of the Nigerian people. In the course of the exercise, the total additions and adjustments by the executive were captured in the sum of N336bn. This shows the rise of executive proposal from N4.079 trillion to N4.415 trillion.

“It is necessary to mention that the additional requests we received from Federal Ministry of Finance, were referred to the affected sub-committees for legislative actions. We would like to also mention that one of the major reasons for the delay in presentation of the report was due to series of correspondences from the executive for additional requirements. It is on record that as we finished sequence of adjustments others were sent.  We, therefore, advise that the executive should complete their work on time and minimize further submission after presentation of the initial proposal. For instance, we received the last correspondence for adjustment on March 8, 2010.”

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