The Federal Government (FG) is concluding the proposed 2020 budget appropriation bill which will be submitted to the National Assembly by the end of September 2019.
The disclosure was reportedly made by the Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, in her opening remarks at a high-level roundtable meeting on National Donor Coordination in Abuja on Wednesday which resulted in the decision to create a Donor Coordinating Unit.
The details: In a statement signed by Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the Finance Minister, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, the 2020 budget would be concluded and submitted this month, as the ministry is currently capturing the planned and ongoing programmes of donor agencies in the country.
The statement read: “The 2020 Budget preparation process is well underway and we intend to finalise and submit the 2020 appropriation bill to the National Assembly by the end of this month.
“The first step is ensuring that your donor programmes are aligned with our strategic priorities and are in turn reflected in our upcoming national budget, we will hold meetings in the next few days to better understand your ongoing and planned programmes.
“This process will ensure that we consider on-going and planned aid interventions when making our 2020 budgetary allocations, and that said interventions are reflected in the Appropriation Bill.”
11 Economic Priority Areas: Meanwhile, the minister disclosed that the present administration had designed 11 Economic Priority Areas.
According to Ahmed, in the area of economic and governance reforms, the government will focus on macroeconomic stability through coordinated economic, monetary, fiscal and trade policies; a fight against corruption and improving governance.
Speaking on investments in infrastructure and human capital, Ahmed stated that the government had planned to target “improved health, education and productivity of Nigerians; ensure energy sufficiency with power; ensure energy sufficiency with petroleum products; improve transportation and other infrastructure; and drive industrialisation, focusing on macro, small and medium-sized enterprises.”
While also outlining the government’s plan to optimise investments in physical and food security to drive inclusive socio-economic development, Ahmed disclosed that the government “plans an improved security for all citizens; enhance agriculture self-sufficiency to achieve food security; enhance social inclusion by scaling-up social investments; and improve access to mass housing & consumer credit to enhance financial inclusion.”
In her concluding remarks, Ahmed emphasized the need for a government-driven national donor coordination mechanism, noting that a well-structured approach is important to ensure that external financing is maximised to the benefit of Nigerians.
“We will work together to put in place a National Donor Coordination Mechanism that is aligned to the government’s key strategic priority areas as set out in our national plans, policies and annual budgets. While government-led, this process must be collaborative in order to succeed.”
Upshots: While the disclosure may excite many, it came just four months after the government approved the 2019 Budget.
- Following the latest disclosure by the Finance Minister, there is a possibility that the development will return Nigeria’s budget cycle back to January and December as analysts have constantly called for the reversal.
- Meanwhile, the 2020 Budget is expected to be increased, just as the Presidency recently declared that 60% (N5.35 trillion) of the 2019 Budget would be rolled over to the 2020 Budget due to slow implementation.
- The slow budget approval and implementation which has characterised the current administration of President Buhari is a recurring decimal which has largely affected the economy.