FEDERAL government, yesterday, disclosed that despite Nigeria’s slide into recession, its N13.08 trillion budget for the 2021 fiscal year would not be reversed unlike the 2020 budget.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure to State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We are not planning to retrieve the budget or to reverse it beyond the work of appropriation that the National Assembly is currently doing in consultation with us,” she said.
Ahmed assured that Nigeria would soon exit the recession given the speedy implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, which she said was introduced as part of measures by the federal government to cushion unforeseen economic crises like the recession.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, slid into its second recession in five years in the third quarter of this year as the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, fell for the second consecutive quarter.
The GDP dropped by 3.62 percent in Q3 and 6.10 percent in Q2, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.
According to her, the steps that were taken were a vigorous implementation of the ESP.
“The ESP was designed to be a 12 months plan, to act as a bridge between the ERGP and its successor plan, but also designed specifically to help us quickly exit recession which we had projected was going to happen.
“The ESP implementation is really on course, it is focused and also the implementation of the 2020 budget is really on course. We have been able to release a large volume of capital funding into ministries, departments and agencies, enabling a lot of public works going on simultaneously all over the country.
“So, how we will maintain this is to make sure we continue to implement the ESP as it is planned. It will help us exit recession, it will help us reset back on the path of growth and on a road that is sustainable,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ahmad has clarified on the issue of federal workers’ salary
“There is no issue with federal workers’ salary. We have paid salaries for November and we shall pay salaries for December so there is no issue at all with salary.
“If you hear about any issue, it is for agencies whose budgets funding on the GIFMIS (Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System) system was exhausted and we are about to make an adjustment to them.
“When we were doing the 2020 budget, we made estimates of the consequential adjustment that is required as a result of the minimum wage and we had sent the budget before a decision and approval was taken on the consequential adjustment, so it is anticipated that some agencies might run short and we made a block provision in the service-wide vote of the budget.
“So, when we have such a situation, what we simply do is remove funds from the service-wide vote to the agency so that they pay their budget, there is no problem of payment of salaries at all,” she stated.