More than two months after the executive submitted a N13.08 trillion budget of “Economic Recovery and Resilience” the Nigerian Senate has increased it by N505bn to N13.58trn.
The Senate said the increment and upward review became necessary due to the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The passage followed a report by Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Appropriation, Jibrin Barau. The budget, according to the Nigerian government, is aimed at promoting diversification of the economy and social inclusion.
In the passed budget, the oil benchmark was set at $40/barrel in the face of inconsistent prices of Nigeria’s biggest source of foreign exchange earnings.
Debt servicing will take up N3.324trn of the budget, while capital expenditures have been pegged at N4.1trn. Recurrent expenditure will take N5.6trn and N496bn has been set aside for Statutory Transfers.
Recall that Nigeria is currently facing an economic recession, with the government and the World Bank saying it is COVID-19 induced.
The Nigerian government had earlier submitted a budget of N13.08trn on the 8th of October, with mixed reactions greeting the appropriation.
Nigeria has since announced the reopening of major borders in the country to increase local remittances and business participation, even as the government has been criticised for the inadequate funding of education, health and human capital development in general.
While security continues to take a good chunk of the budget, the health sector, which had its weaknesses exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, also needs cash injection.
University lecturers in the country have been on strike for the better part of a year, with students also at home. The lecturers have complained about inadequate funding of tertiary education, and called for better investments in the sector by the Nigerian government.
The pandemic has also necessitated the need for a diversification of the economy, as oil prices came crashing down globally, leading Nigeria into a dire situation.
Economic experts have called for better diversification in other sectors to act as a shock absorber for unseen economic situations.
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