The National Assembly is working to adjust the 2021 Budget estimate to accommodate a take-off grant for $5.8 billion Mambilla Hydro-Electricity plant.
The lawmakers are in support of and therefore pushing for the implementation of the Stephen Oronsaye committee’s report to reduce the high cost of governance, especially the recurrent expenditure.
It was gathered that there was lack of votes for the Mambilla project in the 2021 estimate.
Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed stated that Mambilla Power project was not put in the 2021 budget because it was not prioritised by the ministry of power.
From the financing arrangement, China’s Export-Import Bank will provide 85 per cent of the resources, the Federal Government caters for 15 per cent of the joint venture.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, said the National Assembly was concerned about the takeoff of the plant.
He said: “We are working round the clock to ensure that the 2021 Budget accommodates the take-off grant for the Mabilla Power Plant.
“This administration identified five key infrastructure/ projects for completion before the end of its tenure and Mambilla Power Plant is one of them. Others are Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway; Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the East-West Road and the second Niger Bridge.
“NSIA has sourced for $200m for the project but the Federal Government is yet to make take-off fund available. On this side of the divide, we cannot allow this project to suffer any further delay. This requires adjusting the budget for the take-off grant.”
He added that N13.08 trillion budget may be passed by the National Assembly either in the first or second week of December.
He said: “In line with our legislative agenda and our promise to Nigerians to put in place a January-December budget cycle, we plan to pass the Appropriation Bill by the first or second week of December.
“We are pushing for an economy that will be more private sector-driven than what we have now where the government is the largest employer of labour.
“We also believe that there is need to prune down the cost of running the government. We want the government to implement the recommendations of Stephen Oronsaye Committee’s report on Ministries, Departments and Agencies.”
Adeola added: “It is true that 70 per cent of our income is from tax but not Personal Income Tax or company’s tax. It is from the Petroleum Profit Tax.
“We are even saying we should widen our tax net because tax is not something to toy with in the economy of a nation.”
He further assured that the budget will make provision for jobs for Nigerian youths.
“Apart from the N75billion seed funds set aside for youths, we are also looking at other options for youth employment,” he said.