There are strong indications that the National Assembly will today pass the 2020 Appropriation Bill.
But both the Senate and the House of Representatives have increased the 2020 Budget laid before the parliament by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 8, 2019.
New Telegraph learnt that the Appropriations Committee of the Senate had increased the initial proposal of N10.33 trillion budget by N450 billion.
Consequently, it was learnt that the figure to be passed by the apex legislative chamber today, is N10.78 trillion.
The House of Representatives has jerked up the 2020 appropriation bill to the tune of N260 billion, even as both the Senate and the House are set to pass the bill today.
The increase in the budget proposal by the House was mostly in the servicing of debt. The Debt Service also reflected an increase from N2.45 trillion estimates to approximately N2.725 trillion.
Following the differences in the reports of the appropriation committees of the two chambers of the National Assembly on the 2020 budget estimate, it is expected that after the passage of the budget today, a harmonization committee, consisting of both senators and representatives will be constituted to reconcile the differences.
Members of the harmonisation committee are usually drawn from the standing committees on appropriation, finance, loans, aids and debt and national planning.
It was further revealed that the Senate Committee earlier increased it by N500 billion but on a second thought, removed N50 billion from the amount before laying the document to the Senate in plenary yesterday.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Barau Jibrin, had laid the report during plenary.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his brief comment, hinted that the recommendations of the Committee would be considered in plenary today.
While President Buhari presented before a joint session of the National Assembly an aggregate expenditure of N10.33 trillion for the Federal Government in 2020, the lawmakers have jerked up the 2020 budget to N10.59 trillion.
The increase is contained in the report of the budget proposal, which was laid before the House by the chairman, committee on appropriations, Hon. Mukhtar Betara (APC, Borno) at yesterday’s plenary.
Betara, shortly before laying the report, told the House that the committee raised the budget from the N10.33 trillion proposed by the executive to N10.59 trillion.
He said N2.7 trillion was meant for debt service, while N4.8 trillion is for recurrent non-debt expenditure, with N2.4 trillion as contribution to the capital development fund expenditure for the 2020 fiscal year.
The report reflected the total sum of N10,594,362,364,830, indicating a change in the estimates of N10.33 trillion earlier presented.
The report also stated that out of the over N10.59 trillion, N560.47 billion is for Statutory Transfers, which also indicates an increase from the estimates of N556.7 billion initially presented.
The Recurrent (non-debt) Expenditure was put at about N4.843 trillion which showed a reduction from N4.88 trillion initially presented.
Approximately N2.465 trillion is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on December 31, 2020.
The report as presented before the House reads: “A bill for an act to authorize the issue from the consolidated revenue fund of the Federation the total sum of N10,594,362,364,830 only of which N560,470,827,235 only is for statutory transfers
“N2,725,498,930,000 only is for debt service; N4,842,974,600,640 only is for recurrent (Non-Debt) expenditure.
“The sum of N2,465,418,006,955 only is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure for the year ending on 31st day of December, 2019.”
The committee also recommended that the current 2019 budget terminates on December 31, 2019.
It will be recalled that the National Assembly had promised to return the budget circle to January to December.
The 2020 Budget presented by President Buhari comprises statutory transfers of N556.7 billion, non-debt recurrent expenditure of N4.88 trillion and N2.14 trillion of capital expenditure (excluding the capital component of statutory transfers).
The budget estimates presented by Buhari pegged debt service at N2.45 trillion and put provision for Sinking Fund to retire maturing bonds issued to local contractors at N296 billion.
The laying of the 2020 budget report was originally scheduled for November 28, but it was postponed to December 3, following the inability of the various standing committees to complete their defence before the appropriations committee.
The submission was later shifted to December 4, following the adjournment of plenary in honour of late Hon. Jafaru Auna (APC, Niger), who died last Monday in Abuja.