2021 budget estimates: Lawan advocates creation of more jobs

ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET Mandatory Credit: Photo by AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10734448i) Construction workers are seen in front of a building under construction in Lagos, Nigeria, 05 August 2020. Lagos is a city of twenty-one million people, where affordable housing is a considerable challenge - from the pricey neighbourhoods often reserved for the rich to the informal poor settlements opened to flooding and structural collapse during raining seasons. Construction workers in Lagos, Nigeria - 05 Aug 2020

By Kingsley Okoye

Abuja,Oct.8,2020 President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advocated the consolidation of the gains of 2020 budget, especially on creation of more jobs opportunities in the country.

Lawan made the call in his opening remarks at the presentation of the 2021 budget estimates to the Joint Session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is our hope that the 2021 budget will be targeted at consolidation of gains made by the 2020 budget.

“The 2020 budget was targeted at Sustaining Growth and Jobs.”

He said the implementation of the 2020 budget has shown a remarkable improvement over the previous years.

“Certainly, the injection of funds for the various programmes and projects had helped our economy.

“We expect that before the end of this fiscal year, the 2020 budget would have been implemented 100 per cent, this will be a historic feat.

“We need to not only protect jobs but create more,”Lawan said.

He said the eventual passage of the Appropriation Bill 2020 and signing into law in record time was a clear testimony of the benefits of the legislature and the executive working together for the good of the people.

Lawan, however, said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the nation’s plans, as it shut down economies, and affected the income and expenditure projections.

This, he said, necessitated a review of the entire budget, which the National Assembly did with profound sense of purpose, duty and patriotism.

“We were convinced that the steps we took went a long way in stabilising our economy, and in ensuring that funds were provided for critical programmes.

“As we are about to begin another fiscal plan, we shall be influenced by the desire to consolidate on our gains, coming from the hard lessons of the pandemic, and on the urgency of sustaining our diversification programmes,” he said.

Lawan assured that the National Assembly was ready to pass the 2021 budget before the end of the year.

This, he said, would boost planning and enhance productivity and efficiency in the management and application of resources.

“Certainly, the injection of funds for the various programmes and projects had helped our economy.

“The National Assembly approved the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), a plan of the Federal Government, to address the economic challenges of today.

” All efforts should be made to implement the plan, as a number of schemes are designed to keep our Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) afloat.”

Lawan said there was need to re -examine critically the revenue generation, remittances processes of government as the nation revenues plummeted.

This, he said made the government to resort to borrowing to fund the development of some critical infrastructure.

“Recent interactions between our Committees on Finance and National Planning and Economic Matters, with over 200 revenue generating and collection agencies have revealed so much inefficiencies in their systems.

” It was revealed that government loses so much money as a result.

” Similarly, there are so much leakages of moneys that could have easily been available for national development.

“Due to inadequate revenue, government has to borrow in order to finance its projects.”

Lawan said it was equally important that Nigeria diversifies its sources of funding programmes and projects.

“We need to encourage and promote more private sector participation in developing some of our physical infrastructure.

” We could explore the Public Private Partnership (PPP), Build Operate Transfer (BOT), and many other funding options.

“This is with a view to reducing our level of borrowing.”

He assured President Muhammadu Buhari of the readiness of senators and members of the Ninth National Assembly to work on the 2021 budget estimates.

He said that the National Assembly would be thorough in its scrutiny of the 2021 budget estimates.

“Our goal is to have a budget that will address our developmental needs in all its ramifications,”Lawan said.

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