The National Assembly will do all within its powers to ensure the early passage of the 2022 Appropriation Act to help the government maintain it January-December budget cycle, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said on Monday.
Lawan was speaking when the leadership of the National Assembly met with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to discuss the budgetary projections included in the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
Also in attendance at the meeting was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Deputy President of Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase and other principal officers of both chambers of the National Assembly.
In his opening remarks, Lawan said the meeting was convened at the instance of the NASS leadership to specifically deliberate on the projections of the 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP, with a view to facilitating early presentation of the 2022 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari in September.
Lawan reiterated the commitment of the ninth National Assembly to ensure an early passage of the nation’s annual budget for 2022.
“We all recall how this ninth National Assembly committed itself to ensure the passage of the appropriations before the end of December of every year, to enable implementation of the Appropriations Act to start in January of every year.
“So far, we have achieved that in the 2020 budget and 2021 budget as well. This has significantly improved the implementation of the Appropriations Act, culminating in the 100 percent implementation of the 2020 budget, and we are optimistic that the implementation of the 2021 budget would also achieve 100 percent.
He said the 2022 Appropriation Bill would be predicated on the MTEF/FSP 2022-2024, adding that it was important that the meeting held, so that the National Assembly would be able to consider the MTEF in good time to allow the Executive arm of government to prepare the Appropriations Bill for 2022.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, noted the impact of the early passage of the previous budget, saying it helped the country to exit recession in the third quarter of 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.
This, she said, had an attendant negative growth on the Nigerian economy occasioned by the significant and sudden drop in crude oil price at the international market.
The minister said although the Nigerian economy earned more revenue in 2020 from non-oil sectors, other sectors such as transport still remained in the negative.
“The economy, since then has sustained a tepid growth in the first quarter of 2021, with a growth of 0.51 percent, consolidating our exit from recession in the fourth quarter.
“The growth of the economy, we are pleased to say, is driven largely by the non-oil sector, which has risen to 0.79 percent, masking the deterioration in the oil sector.
“The sectoral growth in the non-oil sector was primarily driven by the telecoms and agriculture sectors, as well as other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“Significant concerns still exist in the performance of trade, as well as the transport sector, which are still in a very strong negative growth”, she said. (NAN)