Ahead of the implementation of the 2020 budget, the federal government has said that the 2019 budget recorded an aggregate performance of 81 per cent within the six months of its execution.
This is as the fiscal authorities said that “we will not be making anymore releases during this December 2019 except for those that were at processing stage before the new budget was signed into law.”
According to the minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, “aggregate performance of the 2019 budget as at 12th December was 81 per cent.”
Agba disclosed this at the 8th national steering committee meeting and handover ceremony to the new national steering committee of the Open Governance Partnership (OGP) in Abuja.
Also, during the public presentation of the 2020 budget in Abuja yesterday the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said that N1.212 trillion which represents 50 per cent of the capital estimation for the 2019 been released.
Earlier, Agba said that the federal government would soon issue the 2020 budget implementation guideline on how funds would be released to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Agba added that the government would soon go to the debt market to access financing for the deficit side of the 2020 budget through borrowing for certain projects, especially roads. He further said that “these infrastructural borrowings that we are taking, the monies are not coming to us to disburse. The monies are going to be paid directly to contractors as they do their work.”
On her part, Mrs. Ahmed said that the government was concerned about the issue of population growth rate higher than its GDP growth rate.
“Until we have a GDP growth rate that is higher than the population, the work we are doing will not be felt by majority of Nigerians,” she stated.
The government’s aspiration, according to her, is to grow the GDP by seven per cent. The Nigerian economy is currently at a two per cent growth rate. Ahmed said that the administration would take radical measures to fasten the growth of the economy.
On the revenue performance of the 2019 budget, the finance minister stated that as at third quarter of 2019, federal government’s actual aggregate revenue was N4.25 trillion, which is 81 per cent of the prorate target (and 52 per cent more than Q3 2018).
In her breakdown, oil revenue accounted for N1.44 trillion (52 per cent); Company Income Tax (CIT): N595.27 billion (98 per cent); Value Added Tax: N81.36 billion, representing 69 per cent and a total revenue collection by the Nigeria Customs Service of N184.10 billion (114 per cent).
She concluded that with these, the overall revenue performance for the 2019 fiscal year was 81 per cent of the target as at Q3 2019.
FG To Spend N2.3bn On Ex-presidents, Heads Of State In 2020
Meanwhile, the federal government has allocated N2.3billion for the entitlements of former heads of state and civilian presidents in 2020. The figure is contained in the 2020 Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly and assented to President Muhammadu Buhari last Tuesday.
The money will cover the benefits of former military heads of states, presidents, and vice presidents and the military equivalent of chiefs of general staff.
In the last three years, the Buhari administration has retained the allocation for the el-leaders’ benefits at N2.3 billion.
In the 2020 budget document accessed by LEADERSHIP Friday, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) did not allocate budget for the purchase of cars for the former leaders. This is because the government in 2017 allocated the sum of N432.193 million for their cars. The leaders’ cars are bought every four years, so, provision will be made for them in the 2021 budget.
Apart from the welfare package, each of the former leaders, who is an automatic member of the Council of State collects N500,000 whenever he attends the meeting that holds periodically, at least twice yearly, to take decisions on crucial issues affecting the country.
The beneficiaries are Generals Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The former vice presidents and chiefs of general staff are Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, General Oladipupo Diya, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, and Alhaji Namadi Sambo.
Also, families of deceased ex-presidents are constitutionally entitled to reap from the largesse. The families are those of the late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (prime minister), General Aguiyi-Ironsi, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (ceremonial president), General Murtala Mohammed, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Dr Alex Ekwueme, General Sani Abacha, and Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua,.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari on August 17, 2016 said that he had not been receiving military pensions and salaries as former head of state since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
Buhari had reacted to a narrative on the social media that he had been receiving double payments from the federal coffers.
In a statement released by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Twitter, Buhari said that all financial gratuities, vehicles and even souvenirs due him were not paid by the Nigerian Army.
“The president has never received pension from the Army or car as had gone to former commanders-in-chief. Buhari stopped collecting allowances paid to former heads of state the moment he took office as elected president,” he had said.
The history of benefits for former national leaders is traced to the welfare package of the United States of America, which has an elaborate welfare package for its former leaders. Nigeria started paying entitlements to former presidents under Decree 32 of 1999.
In 2001, the law became the “Remuneration of former Presidents, Heads of Federal Legislative Houses and Chief Justices of the Federation (and Other Ancillary Matters) Act.
The Act was further amended by the National Assembly in 2008 and 2010 with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) mandated to fix the remunerations of the ex-leaders from time to time in line with economic realities, especially whenever the salary of the serving president is raised.
The power of the RMAFC is provided for in Sections 70 and 84 (4) of the 1999 Constitution and the specific legislation is in the Certain Political Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries, Allowances, etc) Act, 2002 and the Amendment Act of 2008.
At the beginning, the 1999 law provided that each former president and former head of state is entitled to N350,000 per month, while former vice presidents and former chiefs of general staff are entitled to N250,000 per month for their up-keep.
The law states: “As from the commencement of this Act, all former presidents and heads of state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former Heads of State”) shall be-(i) paid the sum of N350,000 per month as upkeep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part I of the Schedule to this Act; and (b) vice presidents and chiefs of general staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former vice presidents”) shall be- (i) paid the sum of N250,000 per month as upkeep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part II of the Schedule to this Act.’’
There are also provisions for domestic staff, security aides, vehicles and upkeep allowances for families of deceased presidents.
Each former president is entitled to an officer not below the rank of a chief administrative officer; a personal secretary not below Grade Level 12; three to four armed policemen; one Department of State Services (DSS) officer not below Grade Level 10 as an aide de camp (ADC) to be attached for life and paid by the state security agencies; three vehicles to be bought by the federal government and liable to be replaced every four years; and drivers to be paid by the federal government.
They and their immediate families are also entitled to free medical treatment within Nigeria and abroad where necessary at federal government’s expense; a well-furnished and equipped office in any location of their choice in Nigeria; a well-furnished five-bedroom house in any location of their choice in Nigeria; and 30 days annual vacation at home or abroad.
For former vice presidents, the entitlements include an officer not below the rank of a chief administrative officer; a personal secretary not below Grade Level 10, two to three armed policemen; one DSS officer not below Grade Level 8 as an aide de camp to be attached for life and paid by the state security agencies; two vehicles to be replaced every four years; drivers shall be selected by the former vice president and paid by the federal government; free medical treatment for them and their immediate families within Nigeria and abroad where necessary; 30 days annual vacation within and outside Nigeria at federal government expense; a modestly well-furnished and equipped office in any location of their choice in Nigeria; a well-furnished three-bedroom house in any location of their choice in Nigeria.
According to the 1999 law that has been amended, the remuneration of the former leaders shall be subject to review whenever there is an increase in the salary of the serving president and vice president; and the federal government shall in its annual budget make provision for the remuneration of former heads of state and former vice presidents. In the case of death, the family of an ex-president, at the beginning, was entitled to the payment of the sum of N1,000,000 per annum payable in the sum of N250,000 per quarter; and deceased former vice president was entitled to the payment of the sum of N750,000 per annum payable in the sum of N187,500 per quarter.
The allowances applied to the upkeep of the spouse and education of the children of deceased former leaders up to the university level. However, the spouse of a former leader shall not be entitled to the allowance, if she remarries
From a modest N140 million in 2005, funds allocated to entitlements of former presidents/heads of state, former vice presidents or chiefs of general staff have risen rapidly to N2.3 billion in 2016 .
The peak was in 2012 when the ex-president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration budgeted N3.185 billion for the welfare of the ex-leaders.
The lowest allocation was in 2008 when N24 million was allocated. The figure for 2007 was not disclosed. Between 2013 and 2016, the allocation was constant at N2.3 billion for each year.