By: Joy Odor/Abuja
The Senate is considerin cutting of the N10.72 billion 2020 Budget to meet up with the present realities following the outbreak of coronavirus ravaging the world economy.
According to the Senate, the downsizing of the appropriation act 2020 as passed by the National Assembly is inevitable, but added that the modalities to be adopted in the reduction of the budget must be used as suggested by the appropriation chairman and agreed to by the joint committee.
This followed presentation of a report of joint committees on finance, appropriations, National Planning and Economic Affairs and Petroleum Resource (Upstream) chaired by Sen Solomon Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos West).
The Senate which said it will continue to engage the executive, added that Nigeria must not be allow to suffer in the present economic crisis bought by the coronavirus outbreak.
“The downsizing of the Appropriation Act 2020 as passed by the National Assembly is inevitable, but the modalities to be adopted in the reduction of the budget must be used as suggested by the Appropriation Chairman and agreed to by the Joint Committee.
“The revenue generating agencies must be alive to their responsibility in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act passed by the National Assembly and other relevant laws of the National Assembly,” the Senate said.
Lawmakers are worried of the aspect of the budget that would be touched, with some lawmakers insisting that aspect that will affect the payment of salaries must not be touched.
Sen Remi Tinubu (Lagos Central) said they must look at ways of adjusting the economy the way it should work.
Also, Sen Suleiman Abdu Kwari (Kaduna North) said personnel cost at all time must not be touched adding that it provision must be made.
Kwari said if the crude oil price fall below 30 percent, they should consider bringing down the overhead cost and the capital cost in the budget.
Sen Yahaya Ibrahim Oloriegbe (Kwara Central) said many companies are folding up especially in China adding that Nigeria must now have a more detailed plan on how to improve the economy.
“If we have a projection of how the dollar will be, which part of the budget are we going to touch?
Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), said he agreed with James Manager, insisting that the committee has not finished it work.
Sen Barau Jibrin (Kano North) said the present issue was a worrying situation adding that the cost of crude oil is $30 per barrel while some are even saying it’s $15 dollar per barrel.
“It’s not like that in other countries. We must investigate that,” Barau said urging the Senate to investigate.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said the world is in a challenging period but added that every challenge come with opportunity.
He said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed this year for investors to find Nigeria attractive for business adding now that it’s difficult to get the foreign loan they have hoped for added that they must look inward.
“The CBN has come up with some measures, it needs holistic approach to ensure that our economy did not collapse.
“If we have to borrow, we must be careful, we must carry the private sector along to benefit. We must listen to them,” Lawan said of the private sector” he said.