2023 budget Lawan suggests ways to reduce deficit. Ahmad Lawan, the president of the Senate, has made recommendations on how to stop the growing trend of deficits in the national budget.
In his welcome remarks during President Muhammadu Buhari’s presentation of the 2023 budget, Lawan made the recommendations on Friday.
Just before he submitted the 2023 budget plans to a joint session of the National Assembly, the Senate President informed Buhari that “our economy is still hampered by shortage of income.”
“Oil and gas are the Nigerian government’s primary sources of income. Economic diversity is something we continually emphasize, and it is really important.
“The plan to use oil and gas money to fund the diversification into practical industries like agriculture, manufacturing, mining, etc. is now seriously in jeopardy. “The large-scale and widespread theft of our oil is alarming since it significantly decreases the government’s income sources.
According to competing estimates, our losses from this situation are estimated to be between 700,000 and 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day, which will result in a 29 to 35 percent decline in oil income in the first quarter of 2022.
According to estimates, the amount dropped from N1.1 trillion in the final quarter of 2021 to N790 billion in the first quarter of this year.
“Things have become worse. Recently, the amount of oil we are losing each day has surpassed 1 million barrels. Our loss, measured in monetary terms, is enormous. The data indicates that we are unable to satisfy the 1.8 million barrel daily OPEC limit.
“Mr. President, I believe that our nation’s biggest adversaries are the oil thieves. The criminals have declared war on our nation and its citizens.
“I firmly believe that our economy would suffer if we do not promptly take the required steps to stop the thieves, since attempts to build infrastructure and diversify the economy will both be stymied. It’s time to fight the robbers with severe and desperate tactics.
“Mr. President, the situation is made much worse by the budget deficit, which is projected to be N7 trillion, and the bleak possibility that it would rise to N11.30 trillion, as stated in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) for 2023–2025.
“Your Excellency, if we can halt the stealing, we can lower the deficit. We might also take into account alternative possibilities to increase government revenue.
“I think it’s critical to examine the $6 trillion worth of waivers and concessions the government has given. Some of the exemptions might not be valid at this challenging time.
As with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Customs Service, we should think about removing some of the largest revenue-generating organizations from direct financing and putting them on the cost of revenue collection.
“In this approach, encouraging cost of revenue collections should be provided to organizations like Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning should jointly conduct an investigation into this situation right now, according to the National Assembly’s finance committees.
“The situation would call for bold fiscal policy to correct, by cutting the deficit, not only to avoid additional rises in our debts, but also to provide macro-economic stability, boost trust in the system, and guarantee sustained economic growth.
The National Assembly will promote policy frameworks that emphasize caution, accountability, and transparency through strict appropriation.
Lawan also demanded that the ongoing legacy projects of the Buhari administration be finished.
Dear Mr. President, I firmly think that the 2023 Budget should focus on bringing ongoing projects, particularly our legacy projects, to conclusion.
This is due to both the need to solidify the efforts as a legacy of this government and the significance of infrastructure in boosting economic activity.
It cannot be stressed how much our attention to this industry has contributed to our growth and development.
“Mr. President, we take notice of the government’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and turn them around. We should not let up in the face of problems like flooding, drying wetlands, desertification, and coastal erosion, notwithstanding how complex and dynamic they are.
“The threat of floods has been particularly concerning in many areas of our nation. Families, lives, and livelihoods have been disturbed, and houses have been destroyed. To combat this, we must be proactive and manage our dams and other water resources to reduce the threat of flooding, which is now considered a national emergency.
“How to stop these yearly floods from happening on the magnitude that we experience yearly should be our focus and our objectives. In addition to destroying families this year, the floodwaters also ravaged our infrastructure, notably our highways.
“Mr. President, as you may be aware, construction on the National Assembly’s reconstruction has officially started. We are in this temporary facility because of this. Given the importance of this branch of the government to effective administration and the maintenance of our democracy, the government should guarantee that the refurbishment of the National Assembly Complex is finished on schedule.
In addition to the National Assembly chambers, there are other buildings nearby, including the National Assembly Library, the National Assembly Service Commission Complex, and the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) complex. We must pay close attention to the projects’ completion since they are essential to the efficient operation of legislative activity.
“Mr. President, based on the evaluation of the current scenario, the situation is becoming better and our security services are recording more achievements.
“The National Assembly will continue to help the Executive branch of government in finding long-term answers to the sense of insecurity in our nation by advocating for coordinated measures to purge our country of criminals. I also applaud the increased effort of our security and defense personnel. There needs to be more effort.
Be certain, Mr. President, that the distinguished senators and honorable members of the ninth National Assembly will once more go to work on the 2023 budget right away.
As always, “in the sake of posterity, we shall be led by the highest sense of duty, responsibility, equity, fairness, justice, and patriotism.”