We were confronted with over $14bn Loss due to overdependence on oil, says Lawan

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By Mordi Chukwunonso Esther

The president of the senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has revealed that Nigeria was faced with $14 billion revenue shortage during the current fiscal year due to the nation’s overdependence on oil.

Lawan made this known in his welcome address as the Senate resumed plenary after a two-month vacation.

‘’We were confronted with over $14 billion revenue gap and the grim reality of an unwholesome overdependence on oil,’’ he stressed.

According to him, there is a pressing need to focus on other important sectors like agriculture, solid minerals, steel development and manufacturing, with a view to enlarge the nation’s economy. He added that: ‘’we need to work with relevant stakeholders to prevent our economy going into a recession, stimulate the economy, save and create more jobs through a sustainable multiplier effect’’.

Lawan also stated that the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the federal budgetary plans, calling for the review of the 2020 budget and the upper chamber carrying out oversights to ensure that the revised 2020 Budget is properly executed.

‘’The senate needs to pay particular attention to the implementation of the Federal Government Economic Sustainability plan. This strategic plan is an essential means of revamping our economy, as it provides interventions in the Mass Agricultural Programme, Infrastructure, Mass housing Programme and investments in Healthcare Infrastructure, among others’’, he said.

Lawan also announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2021 budget estimate to the National assembly next week, as its joint committee on Finance and National planning had completed work on the 2021-202 medium term expenditure and fiscal strategy paper (MTF/FSP) during the vacation.

‘’Our joint committee on Finance and National Planning with Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTF/FSP) during the recess interacted with over 300 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) over the issues of revenue heneration and remittances to the Federal government.

‘’The joint committee is expected to present its report to the Senate today for consideration and this is a precursor to the presentation of the 2021 Budget estimates by the executive arm of the government soon. I am aware that the executive will be presenting the 2021 budget estimates by next week.

The senate will provide a one month window for budget defence by ministries, departments and agencies. Like last year, the month of October 2020 will be dedicated for this exercise. Subsequent months of November and December will be dedicated to the internal processing of the Budget by National Assembly. The various MDAs are therefore advised to ensure that they avail themselves the opportunity of the budget defence window to appear with all the relevant and necessary information to defend their budget estimates’’.

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