President Muhammadu Buhari has given assurance that measures so far taken by his government are meant to properly position Nigeria to safeguard its economy against the background of the challenges brought about by coronavirus that is ravaging the world.
The President declared after formally signing the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 into law today, July 10: “with these budget amendments, as well as our recently launched N2.3 trillion Stimulus Programme, we are well-positioned to safeguard the economy.”
He stressed the need for the country to adjust its expected revenues, considering the widespread disruptions in domestic and international economic activities due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the containment measures taken in response thereto.
“Understandably too, we needed to reallocate resources in the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 to ensure effective implementation of required health and emergency measures, as well as to mitigate the negative socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The 2020 Amended Budget, which I have just signed into law today, underscores our Administration’s firm commitment to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihood of our people.
“Considering recent budget implementation challenges, I have directed that efforts be made to ensure effective implementation of the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 in order to realise its laudable objectives.
“All Ministers are to ensure that their Ministries, Departments and Agencies intensify capital project delivery efforts and fully cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to achieve the laudable objectives of the Budget.
“We have, nevertheless, made some progress in the implementation of the Appropriation Act 2020. As at 31st May 2020, the sum of N253.33 billion has been released for the implementation of capital projects.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is in the process of effecting budgetary releases that will ensure that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies receive at least 50 per cent of their amended capital budgets by the end of this month.
“The Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, that I have just signed into law, provides for aggregate expenditures of N10.81 trillion, which is an increase of N216 billion over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide further details of the 2020 Amended Budget.”
The President said that it became necessary to revise the Appropriation Act 2020 which he first signed into law on December 17, 2019 in response to recent developments, in particular, the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He said that crude oil prices in the world market declined sharply from a high of $72.20 per barrel in January 2020 to below $20 per barrel in April 2020, and have since remained around $40 per barrel.
Buhari said that Nigeria’s crude oil production quota had been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to strengthen the oil market.
“Global trade has generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“All these developments are plunging the global economy into recession, and Nigeria has not escaped the impact of this. In effect, the assumptions underlying the 2020 Appropriation Act are no longer sustainable.”
The President acknowledged the efforts of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, particularly the Budget Office of the Federation, and everyone who collaborated and worked conscientiously to produce the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, and thanked Nigerians for their understanding and unflinching support, especially during these difficult times.