Reps pass revised 2020 Appropriation Bill, make provision for resident doctors

The House of Representatives has passed the sum of N10.81 trillion Appropriation bill for the 2020 fiscal year.

This was sequel to the presentation of a report on the budget by the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Muktar Betara, at the Committee of Supply on Wednesday.

The house included the sum of N4 billion for Resident Doctors, as part of efforts to ensure industrial harmony in the sector.

The approved budget was increased by N296 billion higher than the initial sum of N10.51 trillion proposed by Federal Government.

Betara said the increase in the revised budget was for interventions to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country.

The budget breakdown showed that N422.78 billion (against the initial proposed N399 billion) is for Statutory Transfers and N2.95 trillion is for Debt Servicing.

N4.94 trillion (against the initial proposed N4.93 trillion) is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure while the sum of N2.49 trillion (against the initial proposed N2.23 trillion) is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure with the year ending on Dec. 31, 2020.

Under the Statutory Transfer, the House also increased the National Assembly allocation from the proposed N115.2 billion to N128 billion.

It also increased the National Judicial Council (NJC) allocation, from the proposed sum of N99.2 billion to N110 billion and increased proposed N4.23 billion to N4.7billion for Public Complaints Commission.

The House, however, retained the proposed sum of N44.20 billion for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); N51.12 billion for Universal Basic Education (UBE); and N36 billion for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It also retained N2.25 billion for National Human Rights Commission, N20.95 billion for North East Development Commission and N25.56 billion for Basic Health Care Fund.

Of the N2.95 trillion approved for debt servicing, the sum of N1.87 trillion is for Domestic Debts while N805.47 billion, is for foreign debts while the sum of N272.9 billion was also approved for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Loans.

Under the recurrent expenditure, Ministry of Defence got the highest allocation of N784.04 billion, then the Ministry of Education with N479.58 billion and Ministry of Police Affairs with N393.83 billion.

The Ministry of Health with N336.6 billion, Ministry of Interior was earmarked N212.95 billion and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development with N162.21 billion while the Office of the National Security Adviser with N115.57 billion.

The sum of N2.3 billion was approved as entitlements of former presidents/Heads of States and Vice Presidents/Chief of General Staff.

N1 billion was earmarked for severance benefits to retired Heads of Government Agencies and parastatals while N4.50 billion as benefits of retired Heads of Service, Permanent Secretaries and Professors.

N100 billion was set aside for Constituency Projects; N20 billion additional support for Universities; N213.98 billion for COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

The revised budget was passed after the clause by clause consideration of the report of the Committee on Appropriation by the Committee of Supply, chaired by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The House also approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s  request to borrow $5.51 billion to finance the deficit in the 2020 budget. (NAN)

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