An Economist, Mr Moses Igbrude, has told the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the proposed N13.08 trillion 2021 budget, in order to revamp the downturn in the economy caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
Igbrude, the CEO of Ogu Investments, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday.
He spoke against the backdrop of President Muhammadu Buhari presenting the 2021 budget estimate to a joint session of the National Assembly (NASS) on Oct. 8, 2020.
The proposed expenditure is put at N13.08 trillion with a crude oil benchmark price of $40 per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.86 million barrels (inclusive of condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day).
According to Igbrude, NASS must intensify the screening of the budget, in order to change the economic downturn worsened by the health crisis.
He added that the proposed budget looked promising but that the bane could be in its implementation.
“Raising revenue to implement the 2021 proposed budget is one of the tough challenges that the government has to deal with.
“ Particularly now that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the decline of the price of crude oil in the international market.”
He noted that the Buhari administration should be commended for initiating the proposed budget early to ensure that it was scrutinized adequately by NASS.
He also suggested that since the proposed budget was in deficit, government should borrow to meet its competing needs.
“ Government needs to borrow from local and international sources to execute the budget, thereby incurring more debt.
“However, borrowing and being in debt to fix critical infrastructure is almost unavoidable because of the tough economic times,” he said.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Silas Nwoha