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Revised budget: FG gives National Assembly N27bn for renovation, cuts budget for health, education

Valentine Chinyem

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The Federal Government has reduced the N37bn budget for the renovation of the National Assembly complex to N27.7bn.

The Federal Government, in the 2020 revised budget proposal, according to documents obtained by PUNCH on Tuesday, cut N9.3bn from the budget for the renovation of the National Assembly complex.

The renovation of the complex at the initial cost of N37bn, which is to be executed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, attracted criticisms from a large section of Nigerians last year.

However, following the drop in the price of crude oil and a fall in the projected government revenue, it was learnt that the Federal Government decided to reduce the budget for the renovation.

President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Thursday presented the 2020 Appropriation Act (amendment) Bill to the National Assembly, which both the Senate and the House passed for second reading same day.

Buhari explained that the amendment became necessary in view of the sharp decline in crude oil prices and the cut in Nigeria’s crude oil production quota occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Basic health care slashed by 42.5 per cent

In the proposed revised budget, while the National Assembly complex renovation budget was reduced to N27.7bn (a reduction of 25.1 per cent), the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, which is meant to cater for all the primary healthcare centres across the 774 local government areas in the country, was significantly reduced by N44.4bn to N25.5bn, a decrease of more than 42.5 per cent

The BHCPF is made up of one per cent of the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue from international partners such as the World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development.

It is the fundamental funding provision under the National Health Act and was appropriated for the first time in the 2018 budget since the Act was signed in 2014.

UBE fund reduced by over 54.25%

The Universal Basic Education fund was also reduced significantly from N111.7bn to N51.1bn, by more than 54.2 per cent, according to documents obtained by Dataphyte, an open data organisation.

The UBE is a reform programme aimed at providing greater access to quality basic education throughout Nigeria.

It seeks to ensure an uninterrupted access to nine-year formal education by providing free, and compulsory basic education for every child of school-going age.

N’Assembly, NJI’s allocations cut by 10%

Incidentally, the budget for the National Assembly which was N128bn was cut by only 10 per cent, bringing its revised total budget to N115.2bn.

The same calculation was applied to the National Judicial Council as its N110bn original budget was reduced by just 10 per cent, bringing it down to N99bn.

Culled from PUNCH