The federal government is proposing a 20 per cent cut in the capital expenditure across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the 2020 budget to the tune of N312.820 billion.
The proposal, titled “2020 Capital Revised Adjustment,” was one of the highlights of the presentation of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, before the leadership of the National Assembly in Abuja wednesday.
The budget slash includes 32 expenditure items totalling N158.508 billion and another N154.311 billion cut from specific lines that the minister did not, however, list.
The new allocation for the 2020 capital expenditure items includes N3.84 billion for anniversary celebration; computer software acquisition N3.1 billion; construction and provision for office building – N24.8 billion; construction of residential building – N479.6 million; monitoring and evaluation – N10.8 billion; purchase and acquisition of land – N1.4 billion; purchase of motorcycles – N176.5 million; purchase of buses – N485.7 million; purchase of computer printers – N151.4 million; purchase of computers- N1.9 billion; purchase of motor vehicles – N5.2 billion and purchase of office furniture and fitting – N3.9 billion.
Others include purchase of photocopy machines N131.4 million; purchase of power generating sets – N555.9 million; purchase of residential buildings – N170 million; purchase of residential furniture – N50.3 million; purchase of scanners – N193.7 million; purchase of shredding machines – N1.8 million; purchase of trucks – N134.4 million; purchase of vans – N216.2 million; rehabilitation/repairs of office buildings N49.5 billion; rehabilitation/repairs of residential buildings N1.079 billion; research and development – N45.5 billion; construction and provision of agricultural facilities – N180 million; provision of infrastructure – N756 million; construction of roads – N1.9 billion; provision of water facilities – N650 million; provision of water ways – N650 million; purchase of sporting equipment N100 million; and rehabilitation of public schools – N330 million.
However, the official exchange rate for the budget is N360 to $1, against the old rate of N306.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly has tasked the executive arm of government on the need to ensure equity and fairness in the distribution of stimulus.
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, at a meeting of the National Assembly leadership with some members of the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 in Abuja, said all parts of the country should be considered in the intervention initiative.
“We must ensure that there is equity – that there is fairness in the interventions. Every part of this country should have something to ameliorate the situation whether it is Coronavirus infected or not.
“In fact, some of our states have been in a very difficult situation before the outbreak of Coronavirus and such interventions will definitely help,” Lawan said.
He also tasked the agencies of government to ensure that they streamline their activities along the provisions in the 2020 budget and to avoid needless duplication of projects.
He advised that the stimulus package should align with what was already in the 2020 budget so that there would not be duplication.
The Senate President said: “In our last meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning indicated very clearly that the executive is proposing a N500 billion stimulus package. While this is a very good proposal, how we wish you could even have more than N500 billion. But my concern is that we should not duplicate what is already in the 2020 budget.
“And of course, there is utmost need to streamline what the Federal Ministry of Finance is proposing and what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also proposing. Some of the proposals may have a spillover effect on some projects.”
He said the federal government should ensure that the interventions had very clear and definite measurable targets. “We shouldn’t just throw money and there and then we don’t see anything. The National Assembly will monitor every single kobo if and when the proposal is endorsed,” Lawan said.
According to him, the meeting presented an opportunity to have all the facts regarding the current situation on Nigeria’s crude oil and the amendment being contemplated as regards the Medium Term and Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and 2020 budget.
In her submission, Ahmed said the meeting was designed to be a consultative forum to bring the National Assembly leadership up to date on what the executive has been doing but also to take the National Assembly’s feedback, guidance and advice as it moved forward towards adjusting MTEF, adjusting the budget as well as designing the N500 billion stimulus package.