Ahmed Lawan and Gbajabiamila were, in June, elected Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
According to finance minister Zainab Ahmed, the federal government will propose to the National Assembly about N9.79 trillion as total expenditure in the 2020 National budget.
The amount represents an increase of 9.75 per cent over N8.916 trillion budgeted for 2019.
Unlike the previous year where the president was interrupted intermittently by lawmakers with jeers and cheers, he will most likely have a warm reception by the lawmakers.
To make good their commitment, the Nigeria Senate on Thursday last week passed into law the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2020 – 2023 to the tune of N10.727 trillion passed into law. Constitutionally, the MTEF is the basis with which annual budget is prepared by the Executive. It, therefore, means that today’s presentation of 2020 budget is in consonance with the laid down procedures of how the nation’s financial structure is laid.
Meanwhile, what was not clear, but very important before a budget is prepared was the level of implementation of the N8.9 trillion annual budget which was passed into law by the 8th Senate in May, 2019. Today’s presentation of the 2020 budget by President Muhammadu is coming four months into the implementation of the 2019 budget. As laudable as it may be, the level of implementation of the previous year which is sacrosanct continues to agitate the minds of some political analysts as well as financial experts.
Meanehile PDP Senator who spoke on condition of anonymity before he entered the chambers said:
“I know we are operating a cooperative agenda with the executive. Be that as it may, I am optimistic, they would be a closedoor session before President Buhari’s arrival in which salient points like what you are saying will be discussed. That’s all I can say.”
Moreso, how the heads of agencies of government would avail themselves to defend their MDAs and parastatals’ budget in marathon approach remains to be seen in view of the usual busy schedule of overseas travels.
It is worthy to note that security is relaxed within the complex, compared to previous years where journalists and National Assembly staff are subjected to rigorous security checks.
President Muhammadu Buhari arrives the chamber at exactly 2 p.m.
The guards’ brigade is now rendering the national anthem.
An opening prayer is underway.
All MDAs must defend their budget estimates before relevant NASS committees in October, Senate President Ahmed Lawan says.
Additional revenues will be used to fund health, education and infrastructure, the president says.