More Takeaways From President Buhari’s 2020 Budget Presentation

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, for the first time upon assuming his second tenure in office arrived the National Assembly to present the 2020 budget to the lawmakers. Prior to his coming, security in and out the NASS complex was massively revamped in anticipation for a smooth running of the budget presentation. The Senate had prior to the President’s arrival, moved and adopted a motion for a joint session between the upper legislative chamber and the House of Representatives as it is required. After the observation of the Muslim and Christian prayers, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan addressed the joint session of the National Assembly while pledging its support for the President to continue with the presentation. The President who was accompanied by his Vice, Yemi Osinbanjo to the Assembly for the budget presentation began with stating that the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown from 1.93 percent in 2018 to 2.02 percent in the first half of 2019. He proposed that inflation has gone down from its initial peak of 18% in January 2017 to 11% by August 2019. External reserves, he continues, has also gone up from $23bn in October 2016 to $42bn in September 2019, while capital importation has gone up from $12bn in 2018 to $14bn in 2019. He claimed that the 2018 capital budget was implemented till June 2019 and that N294.6 billion was released for capital projects under the 2019 budget, as of September 30, 2019; he has directed the Federal Ministry of Finance to release additional N600 billion for capital before the end of the year. On the new VAT rate, he said that the 2020 budget based on increased revenues will be used to fund education, health and infrastructure. He further implied that his government will increase the threshold for VAT registration to about N25m turnover per annum, in order to assist small businesses. N8.155 trillion which are in revenues is estimated in the 2020 budget, as Oil sector will rake in N2.64 trillion; Non-oil sector: N1.81 trillion and others: N3.7 trillion, the President added. The Domiciliary Accounts in foreign missions he continues, will be captured in TSA, as well as for GOEs in the 2020 budget. From his speech, it is learnt that the budget for National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has increased from N1.5 billion to N2.5 billion and that the President had directed the stoppage of salaries for any Nigerian government staff not captured in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) by end of October 2019, stating also that N2.46 trillion is proposed for capital projects. He however placed much emphasis on the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible, rather than commissioning new ones. The goal is for the 2020 Appropriation Act to come into effect on January 1, 2020. In the budget, infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme started with the PPP Scheme launched in January 2019, (currently ongoing) has already claimed N200 billion in private capital with the reconstruction of 800km of Federal Roads, across the six geopolitical zones. Single Customs Window (SCW), he claims, is a priority for the coming year as well as the PIB. He goes on to seek the Assembly’s support in passing into law, the two Executive PIBs. He assured also, that he will be re-forwarding to the 9th Assembly, the Deep Offshore Act Amendment Bill, which in June 2018, was submitted to 8th Assembly, but wasn’t passed.
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