President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the 2020 Appropriation Act of N10.594 trillion.
The signing ceremony held on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, a day after Channels Television reported that the President would assent to the Act.
It is the fourth time since 1999 but the earliest that the appropriation bill is signed in December, paving the way for the return of Nigeria to a January – December budget cycle.
In his remarks, the President commended the patriotic zeal of the National Assembly for the quick passage of the budget.
He, however, informed the lawmakers that he looks forward to receiving the Finance Bill for assent in the shortest time.
President Buhari, therefore, called on the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure the effective implementation of the 2020 budget.
He expressed confidence in his administration’s ability to finance the 2020 budget.
In view of this, the President directed that the 2021 budget estimates be submitted to the National Assembly by September next year.
The signing of the 2020 budget was witnessed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; and the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
Also present were the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, among other National Assembly leaders.
Read the President’s full speech at the event below:
It is my pleasant duty, today, on my 77th birthday, to sign the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law.
I thank the National Assembly, in particular, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and indeed all the Distinguished and Honourable Leaders, and Members, for passing the 2020 Appropriation Bill, expeditiously.
You will recall that I laid the 2020 Appropriation Bill before the Joint Session of the National Assembly on 8th October 2019 and forwarded the 2019 Finance Bill shortly thereafter.
I am very pleased that the National Assembly worked uncommonly long hours in the interest of our people and the national economy to ensure detailed legislative review and passage of the Budget within two months.
This patriotic zeal adopted by the Ninth National Assembly has restored our budget cycle to a predictable January to December fiscal year.
Furthermore, in the 20 years since the return to civilian democracy, this will be just the fourth time that the Federal Budget was passed before the end of the previous year, and this is the earliest.
The passage of the Finance Bill, which I am told will be done in the coming days, will also be a landmark achievement worthy of recognition, being the first time, this has been done in the last twenty years.
We look forward to receiving this Bill, shortly, for Presidential Assent. Once passed into law, the Finance Bill will support the funding and implementation of the 2020 Budget.
We shall sustain this tradition by ensuring that subsequent budgets are also accompanied by a Finance Bill.
For these achievements, I must, therefore, congratulate and thank the Distinguished Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker and indeed, all members of the Federal Legislature for their commitment and support.
I equally thank the Ninth National Assembly for supporting important legislations such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Amendment Act and the 2019 Finance Bill. These laws are vital to the successful implementation of the 2020 Budget.
I am aware of the regular high-level discussions that took place, between senior officials of the Executive and the Legislature during this period.
I commend this renewed partnership, the mutual understanding as well as collaboration between these two arms of government.
Now, we are well-positioned to effectively implement the budget and deliver our promises to Nigerians. Businesses will also benefit as they are now in a position to plan more effectively.
We have to sustain this harmonious working relationship. I expect that, going forward, this will be the norm.
I have directed that efforts be made to ensure the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly in September 2020.
I am confident that all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies will cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to keep to this timeline.
I will work with the Ninth National Assembly to give effect to the constitutional, legislative and other actions that may be necessary to address the various challenges currently associated with our federal budgeting process, including the enactment of an Organic Budget Bill.
The 2020 Budget passed by the National Assembly provides for aggregate expenditures of N10.594 trillion, an increase of N263.95 billion over the Executive’s proposal that was submitted in October 2019.
We have examined the adjustments and may revert to the National Assembly with a request for a virement or other relevant amendments.
The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will make a public presentation of the details of the approved budget.
With today’s global oil market outlook and our strategic approach to revenue growth, we are optimistic that we will be able to finance the 2020 Budget.
However, being a deficit budget, an appropriate 2020 – 2022 Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly, in due course.
Mr Senate President, Right Honourable Speaker, for this submission, I will once again count on your usual cooperation and support by ensuring quick consideration and approval of the Plan.
To optimise the desired impact, I have directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and all Federal MDAs to ensure effective implementation of the 2020 Budget.
I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, and all stakeholders, who collaborated and worked painstakingly, to produce the 2020 Appropriation Bill, that I have just signed into law.
I thank you most sincerely for your kind attention.
May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.