…As Finance Minister insists 2020 budget must get to NASS Sept
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government said, yesterday, that a committee has been put in place to facilitate recovery of N614 billion given to 35 states on budget support.
This is even as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, reiterated that the 2020 budget would be laid before the National Assembly by the last quarter of September.
Briefing State House correspondents after the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Ahmed, who presented an update to the council on the budget support facility, said 35 states benefited from the facility, adding that each state was expected to pay back equivalent of N17. 5 billion.
However, efforts to get the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, to react to Federal Government’s statement proved abortive as calls pulled through the telephone line of the Director-General of the body, Dr. Asishana Okauru, rang out without response. A text message sent to his line was also unreplied.
Similarly, the officer in charge of Media and Publicity of the NGF, Abdulrazaq Maccido, said he couldn’t react because he was yet to see the statement of the Federal Government and referred Vanguard to the director general.
Ahmed said: “Council agreed to constitute a committee of the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the Minister of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria to finalise modalities for repayment.”
2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework
She said council was briefed on preparations for the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the revenue generation challenges being faced by the government at the moment, adding that the balance of Stabilisation Fund Account as at August 20, 2019, was N21, 729,976,810.66, while the Natural Resources Development Fund was N95, 896,886,829.69.
The minister said the Ad-hoc Committee of Excess Crude and other special accounts of the federation requested for extension of time to finalise and present its report at the next meeting.
On the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF/FSP, Ahmed said she informed NEC that the purpose of the presentation was to get inputs and recommendation from the council for further presentation to Federal Executive Council, FEC, for approval and implementation.
“The draft 2020-2022 Medium Term Fiscal framework indicates that Nigeria faces significant medium term fiscal challenges, especially with respect to revenue generation.
“Therefore, there is need to improve revenue collections and expenditure management, need to take bold decisions and urgent action to achieve fiscal sustainability and macro-fiscal objectives.”
Also briefing journalists, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State said Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State briefed NEC on updates on its committee on export promotion