Buhari in tight corner as Senate moves to cut down budget

Buhari will certainly not be a happy man.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

/ by National Pivot
Senate President Ahmed Lawan
Nigeria's coronavirus cases may not have been alarming, it however, did not shield the country from the global economic impact cased by the novel coronavirus.

The fears caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus has countries worried as impact of the virus continues to take its toll on global businesses.

With Nigeria's Oil revenues currently feeling the heat over the impact of the virus as oil prices continue to plumet, the Senate, on Tuesday, said a downward review of the N10.5trn Appropriation Act 2020 has become inevitable.

It, however, said the modalities to be adopted in the budget review should be agreed to by both the legislature and the executive in consideration of a report of Senate Joint Committee on Finance, Appropriations, National Planning and Petroleum Resources (Upstream) on the urgent need to monitor and examine the current economic reality caused by sharp drop in the price of Crude Oil, the emergence of deadly coronavirus and the uproar within the OPEC Community.

The committee, chaired by Senator Solomon Adeola ​​(APC, Lagos) was constituted last week to interface with the relevant stakeholders in the Executive and Business Community with the intention of bringing out suggestions, solutions and way forward out of the present economic reality.

Senator Adeola who said the committee had discussed issues bordering on the current Appropriation Act 2020, said, “The Joint Committee looked at the issues discussed from two (2) angles; the short and long term solution.

“The short term solution is to address the sharp drop in the crude oil price which is creating difficulties in funding the 2020 Appropriation Act as passed by the National Assembly.

“The long term solution discussed is the need to consider and pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which is yet to be laid before the National Assembly. This will address the issue of cost of production and Gas flaring where the country’s resources is going down the drain and other issues that might affect the petroleum sector.”

Experts, according to the report, believed that it is time Nigeria should start to look beyond oil as a major source of revenue and ensuring proper diversification of the economy.

“Experts noted that our shallow policy in Agriculture is responsible for our dependency on oil as our major source of income. The Government should show more commitment in returning the country as a major leader in agricultural produce both within and outside the African Continent e.g Nigeria was the leading producer of cocoa but as over taken over by Ivory Coast as number one producer, since the advent of crude oil,” it said.

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