2020 budget: Only 30% implementation has been achieved   -Ahmed

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Despite the three months extension, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has told the federal lawmakers that as at the end of January this year, 30 per cent implementation has been achieved on the extended capital component of the 2020 budget and as at December 2020 the 89 per cent of the total budget.

The leadership of the National Assembly on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of 2020 Capital budget despite its extension by three months.

During the interactive session, the federal lawmakers led by both the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, told the Minister that the response from various agencies of government on level of implementation is not encouraging.

Specifically , the Speaker in his remarks said since it is not a usual thing to extend life span of a budget , there is need for them to be shown visible and identifiable results , the executive has achieved with the extension granted the capital component of the 2020 budget from December 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

“This special session of the leadership of NASS interfacing with you is meant for over sighting the extension because feelers from the various MDAs on the implementation are not all that cheering.

“Many of them have complained to our various committees, difficulties being faced in accessing funds said to have been released by your Ministry. We want to know the level of performance achieved so far whether it justifies the extension granted or not “, he said.

The Minister in her response said though as at the end of January this year, only 30per cent implementation of the extended capital component of the budget was achieved, but since all the funds have been released and most of the agencies have accessed them, remarkable percentage implementation will be achieved before March 31st this year.

When the Senate President asked her whether 100per cent Implementation performance will be achieved or not by the MDAs before the March 31 deadline, she said series of factors will determine that.

” Such factors include all the MDAs , accessing the funds that had already been released about three weeks ago , procurement processes and capacity of agencies to utilize the funds within the time frame “, she said .

She in her earlier presentation, informed the federal lawmakers that as at December 2020, 89per cent of the capital component of the budget had been achieved from the N1.74trillion released.

When asked to explain the wide gap between the official rate of foreign exchange and parallel market, she said it will be unreasonable to expect the two to be at equal level.

She, however, assured the lawmakers, that appropriate authorities and agencies within the executive arm of government, are working towards bridging the existing gap of about N100 between the two windows of foreign exchange.

It was learnt that the official rate of foreign exchange hovers between N360 to N379 to a U.S dollar; that of the parallel market is about N465 to a U.S dollar.