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Senate commits 2019 budget to committees for defence

BREAKING: Senate suspends plenary to honour dead soldiers

The Senate has committed the 2019 Budget of N8.83 trn to the various standing committees for defence by the Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs).

This followed the conclusion of debate on the general principles of the budget at plenary on Tuesday.

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The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, while announcing this, gave the Committee on Appropriation two weeks to work on reports of the various committees and report to senate for consideration and passage.

Saraki enjoined MDAs to respond promptly to committee invitations for their budget defence to enable the senate expedite action on passage.

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He, however, told committees not to bother going after MDAs to appear for budget defence.

“The relevant committees should swing into action and ensure that they conclude work on this budget within two weeks.

“The committee on appropriations should submit its report on April 2, so that we can pass the budget.

“Let me also add that the various committees should not run after or force any head of agency to appear.

“If they do not appear before the given time, adopt what was submitted by the President and submit your report. That is what you should do,” he directed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Dec. 19, presented the 2019 budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly.

The 2019 budget proposal was based on an oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar.

Other benchmarks were: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 3.01 per cent and inflation rate of 9.98 per cent.

The total projected revenue, according to the president, is N6.97 trillion, which is three per cent lower than the 2018 estimate of N7.17 trillion.

The 2019 total budget estimate is N300 billion lower than the N9.1 billion being implemented for the current fiscal year.

The President said N4.04 trillion or 50.31 per cent was earmarked for recurrent expenditure and N2.03 trillion representing 22.98 per cent, earmarked for capital projects.

“Other estimates were N492.36 billion for statutory transfers; N2.14 trillion for debt servicing and provision of N120 billion as sinking fund.

“Other revenues expected in 2019 included various recoveries of N203.38 billion; N710 billion as proceeds from the restructuring of government equity in joint ventures, and other sundry incomes of N104.1 billion,” Buhari said.

The president explained that the total N8.83 trillion proposed expenditure for 2019 included grants and donor funds amounting to N209.92 billion.

Buhari said though the 2019 estimate was lower than the 2018 budget of N9.1 trillion, it was higher than the N8.6 trillion originally proposed by the executive to the National Assembly.

The budget deficit is projected to decrease to N1.86 trillion or 1.3 per cent of the GDP in 2019 from N1.95 trillion projected for 2018. (NAN)

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