President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has asked the Executive to implement
the Economic Sustainability Plan approved by the National Assembly so as to
strengthen the economy in view of the resultant impact occasioned by Covid-19
Lawan gave the charge on Thursday in a welcome address delivered during the
presentation of the 2021 budget estimates by President Muhammadu Buhari at a
joint session of the National Assembly.
According to the Senate President, there is the urgent need by government to
sustain programmes aimed at economic diversification, not only because of the
unpredictable nature of oil revenue, but due to recent uncertainties arising
from the coronavirus.
He added that sufficient injection of funds into such programmes would give a
boost to the nation's economy.
"Mr. President, the implementation of the 2020 Budget has shown a remarkable
improvement over the previous years.
"Certainly, the injection of funds for the various programmes and projects had
helped our economy. We expect that before the end of this fiscal year, the 2020
Budget would have been implemented 100 percent. This will be a historic feat.
"The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic is a global affliction that every country
needs to address through various measures.
"The National Assembly approved the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan
(NESP), a Plan of the Federal Government, to address the economic challenges of
"All efforts should be made to implement the plan, as a number of schemes are
designed to keep our Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) afloat.
"Mr. President, it is our hope that the 2021 Budget will be targeted at
consolidation of gains made by the 2020 Budget. The 2020 Budget was targeted at
sustaining growth and jobs. We need to not only protect jobs but create more.
"The COVID-19 Pandemic has revealed the ultimate vulnerability of our economy,
as a monolithic, oil dependent economy.
"The sudden crash in the price of crude in the world market, and the consequent
impact on our economy, should spur us into genuine search for the
diversification of our economy, for other revenue sources".
The Senate President while pledging the National Assembly's readiness to pass
the 2021 budget before the end of the year, said doing so "will continue to
enable planning and enhance productivity and efficiency in the management and
application of our resources".
He however lamented that the Federal Government had resorted to borrowing to
fund critical projects in the budget due to inadequate revenue at its disposal.
Lawan blamed government's low revenue profile owing to leakages on the
inefficiency of revenue generating agencies.
"Mr. President, as our revenues plummeted, we have resorted to borrowing to
fund the development of some critical infrastructure.
"Our revenue generation, collection and remittances need to be critically
examined. Recent interactions between our Committees on Finance and National
Planning and Economic Matters, with over 200 revenue generating and collection
agencies have revealed so much inefficiencies in their systems.
"It was revealed that government loses so much money as a result. Similarly,
there are so much leakages of moneys that could have easily been available for
"Due to inadequate revenue, government has to borrow in order to finance its
projects. It is equally important that we should diversify our sources of
funding of our programmes and projects.
"We need to encourage and promote more private sector participation in
developing some of our physical infrastructure.
"We could explore the Public Private Partnership (PPP), Build Operate Transfer
(BOT), and many other funding options. This is with a view to reducing our
level of borrowing," the Senate President advised.