…As Buhari presents 2021 budget next week
The Nigerian National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and Gas have reportedly had preliminary engagements with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, to discuss the critical Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

This followed the submission of the orchestrated bill to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

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Welcoming Senators from recess yesterday, (Tuesday), Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the preliminary engagements are necessary to enable the lawmakers have critical opinions that will enable the lawmakers take informed decisions.

Ahmed Lawan who spoke during plenary also confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari will present his 2021 budget estimate next week to a joint sitting of the National Assembly for consideration.

He commended the Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning for carrying out comprehensive legislative work on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

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According to him, consideration of the committee’s report by the upper chamber would precede presentation of the 2021 budget estimates next week by the President.

“The Joint committee will present it’s report to the Senate today for consideration. This is a precursor to the presentation of the 2021 Budget Estimates by the Executive Arm of Government soon. I am aware that the Executive will be presenting the 2021 Budget Estimates by next week,” Lawan said.

The Senate President also announced that the upper chamber will provide a one month window for Budget defense by Ministries, Departments and Agencies morning of government.

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“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 NASS. The various MDAs are therefore advised to ensure that they avail themselves the opportunity of the Budget defense window to appear with all the relevant and necessary information to defend their Budget Estimates,” Lawan added.

Speaking on the revised 2020 Budget, Lawan who emphasized the need for both chambers to carry out oversights to ensure its proper implementation, stressed that same must be “targeted at addressing the specific challenges occasioned by COVID-19 Pandemic.”

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He added that the Senate would pay particular attention to the implementation of the Federal Government Economic Sustainability Plan.

“The strategic Plan is an essential means of revamping our economy, as it provides interventions in the Mass Agricultural Programme, Infrastructure, Mass Housing Programme, Investments in Healthcare Infrastructure, amongst others.”

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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