2021 budget: Buhari charges revenue generating agencies to meet target

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday tasked agencies of government saddled with generating revenue on the need to meet their targets.

The President gave the charge after he signed the 2021 Appropriation Bill of N13,588, 027,886,175 trillion as well as the 2021 Finance Bill into law.

President Buhari at the ceremony that took place at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja hinted that he will soon send a borrowing plan to the National Assembly since the 2021 budget has deficit and that in view of the amendments made to the executive proposals by the lawmakers, he would revert to them for amendments, virememts or other necessary adjustments.

Speaking shortly after appending his signature to the documents, President Buhari said, “We are intensifying our domestic revenue mobilization efforts so that we can have adequate resources to fund the 2021 Budget. Revenue Generating Agencies, and indeed all Ministries, Departments and Government-Owned Enterprises, must work very hard to achieve their revenue targets, control their cost-to-revenue ratios, as well as ensure prompt and full remittance of revenue collections.

“Relevant Agencies are to ensure the realization of our crude oil production and export targets. Heads of defaulting Agencies are hereby warned that they will be severely sanctioned. I also appeal to our fellow citizens and the business community, at large, to fulfil their tax obligations promptly.

“As you are all aware, our economy recently lapsed into its second recession in four years. I mentioned during the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill that we intend to use the budget to accelerate our economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy.

“All Ministers are to ensure that their supervised Ministries, Departments and Agencies achieve the objectives set for their sectors.”

On the plan to send a borrowing plan to the National Assembly, President Buhari said, “Being a deficit budget, the specific Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly. I count on the co-operation of the National Assembly for a quick consideration and approval of the Plan when submitted. I assure you that all borrowings will be judiciously applied towards growth-enhancing critical expenditures.

“I am aware of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the 2021 Executive Budget proposal. We will examine these amendments and, where necessary, will revert to the National Assembly with a request for amendment, virement or other appropriate adjustments to ensure that the core objectives of the Budget are accomplished.”

The president affirmed that the 2021 Budget was critical to the delivery of his administration’s legacy projects and therefore directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to put the necessary measures in place to realize the objective.

He said, “The 2021 Budget is very critical to the delivery of the legacy projects of our administration. To fully achieve our objectives, the effective implementation of the 2021 Budget is imperative.

“Therefore, I have directed that the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning should adopt all necessary measures in this regard to achieve the objectives of the Budget, including the targeted release of capital votes.”

President Buhari directed relevant agencies to ensure the realization of the nation’s crude oil production and export targets, warning heads of defaulting agencies that they will be severely sanctioned where they come short.

He also appealed to citizens and the business community, at large, to fulfill their tax obligations promptly.

Speaking on the 2020 Budget performance, President revealed that it currently stood at “an impressive rate” of 97.7 percent.

He said, “This commendable outcome underscores the importance of our efforts, together with the Legislature, to return to the discipline of a January-to December fiscal year. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide further details on the 2020 Budget’s performance, in due course.”

He directed all relevant agencies of government to scale-up budget implementation monitoring and evaluation efforts, noting, “In this regard, we continue to count on the public, at large.”

The President explained that in spite of the adverse impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) on the nation’s economy and the government’s revenues, the administration has made appreciable progress in the implementation of the 2020 Budget.

He said, “As at December 2020, we had released about One-point-Seven- Four-Eight Trillion Naira (N1.748 trillion) out of a total of the One-Point-Nine-Six- Two Trillion Naira (N1.962 trillion) voted for the implementation of critical capital projects, representing a performance of about Eighty-Nine-point-One Percent (89.1%).

He said that he hoped that in 2021, his administration would be able to significantly reduce the adverse impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the cost and availability of basic food items, as well as other key commodities, in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders.

“I also expect that the 2021 Budget will stimulate domestic economic activities and create employment opportunities, especially for our youth,” he said.

While commending the understanding, sacrifice and resilience of the people, both young and old, President Buhari said, “As a nation, we are currently confronted with diverse challenges at this time.

I assure everyone that our hope and confidence of a greater future shall not be in vain. Let me conclude by commending the National Assembly, once again, for the steady support in safely steering our economy during these very challenging times. I remain committed to sustaining the partnership with the Legislature to jointly deliver on our mandate from our people.”

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