President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present to present the amended 2020 Budget to the National Assembly next week.
The presentation of the budget formed the major highlight of the meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, in Abuja.
The Federal Government on Wednesday said it has reduced the N10.59 trillion 2020 Appropriation Bill by N71.5 billion due to the effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the nation’s economy.
The Special Assistant (Media) to the President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, in a statement, said the meeting which was attended by Principal Officers from both chambers, was presided over by the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Lawan told the Executive arm of government to ensure that the interest of Nigerians remained protected in the proposed cut to the 2020 budget and expressed the readiness of the Federal lawmakers to expeditiously consider the proposed amendment Mrs. Ahmed said would be presented to the National Assembly by next week.
“The budget amendment is very important, but I believe that when we are faced with this kind of challenge (COVID-19 pandemic), it is an emergency and we should do everything and anything possible to fast-track the passage and implementation of the government’s intervention that is so critical and crucial at this stage.
She said: “I believe that we shouldn’t delay it any longer. Next week, and I will suggest the early part of next week, we should have that document (MTEF) ready so that we can consider it alongside the budget. It is supposed to be the tonic of what Nigerians are waiting for.
“We have listened to the various adjustments you have made to avoid going into recession. However, to avoid going into a deeper recession, I think we need to do a little bit much more.”
Lawan urged that the Executive should engage with the “relevant Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives to look at the nitty gritty that would be considered more in detail at the presentation level.
“On the whole, let me assure you that the National Assembly and Executive arm are on the same page, and that is to say that we will work to ensure that we have a budget amendment that will address the needs of the people of this country.
“One thing is that the net public expenditure must be targeted at net maximum performance for the benefit of the people of this country,” he stated