FG reduces 2020 budget, suspends recruitments amidst fear of CONVID-19

Hajiya Zainab Ahmed
Finance Minister – Hajiya Zainab Ahmed

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the reduction of 2020 budget by about N1.5 trillion as part of measures it has in place to address the impacts of coronavirus disease on the the nation’s economy.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed revealed this while addressing State House correspondents on Wednesday.

She said the proposed budget cut of N1.5trillion, which must be approved by the National Assembly would include N457 billion from Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) under-recover.

“From the expenditure side, the President has approved that we should cut down the capital expenditure budgeted by 20 per cent across Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

“Also, a 25 per cent cut of all government owned enterprises and these include the ones that are in the national budget, the 10 top ones we included in the 2020 budget but also those we did not include in the 2020 budget.

“So, all of these would have their recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure cut down by 25 per cent.

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“By these measures we expect that the operating surpluses that would accrue to the federation will increase because when their operational expenditure reduces the operating surpluses that they remit to the treasury will also increase significantly.

“What we have done is that we have written every ministry and given them guidelines on how these adjustments will be made to enable us have detailed inputs from the ministries.

“But I can just say that the bulk cut is about N1.5 trillion, the reduction in the size of the budget. And this includes N457 billion from PMS under-recovery,’’ she said.

She also stated that other policy matter that had been discussed for implementation is for the administration to stop recruitment except for essential services such as security and health services.

The Council also agreed to restore and compliant by the civil service retirement regulations, while the modalities for the implementation of the Social Investment Programme would also be reviewed.

Ahmed revealed that the Council approved that recruitment into the civil service should be suspended but the current federal government workforce would be maintained.

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“On recruitment, there is already an instruction to stop recruitment. What the agencies have been doing is replacement but even that is being suspended.

“When things improve we will go back to the issue of recruitment but for now, our wage bill is already very high.

“The president has directed that salaries and pensions must be paid unfailingly, so we are not looking at downsizing in anyway.

“We are maintaining our workforce as it is but we are just stopping the increase in the size of the nominal roll,” NAN quoted her as saying.

Meanwhile, Nigeria on Wednesday announced five new cases of the coronavirus.

It brings the total number of confirmed cases to eight.

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