Reps debate CBN’s N1.3tr budget in camera

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Journalists were shut out by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Victor Nwokolo on Wednesday as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) defended its N1.3 trillion budget proposal for the 2020 fiscal year.

Before the closed door budget presentation the representaive of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele’s representative, Mr. Adamu Edward Lametek, was allowed to give a breakdown of the 2019 budget before going into the presentation of the N1.3 trillion in the 2020 budget estimates.

No one knew the cause of the sudden change of mind by the chairman who had earlier called for coverage of the proceedings,.

He ordered that all the management staff, journalists and other supporting staff should vacate the venue before delving into the budget defence.

On Thursday last week, one of the concerned members of the House of Representatives, Rep. Gudaji Kazure had during a press briefing queried the N1.3 trillion proposed by the CBN which he described as outrageous and alarming.

Kazaure spoke of the need for downward review of the proosed budget in the nation’s interest, and also expressed concern for CBN’s disregard for the House resolution over the implementation of the money deposit and withdrawal charges by banks, after the House advised that the policy should be suspended.

His words: “In 2019, budget of the CBN was N420 billion, but the same CBN brought a budget of N1.3 trillion for 2020. What are they producing? Which revenue are they generating?”.

The lawmaker vowed to persuade the House to ask his colleagues in the appropriation committee to bring down the budget of the CBN to N300 million.

He said health, education and the federal government’s N-Power social intervention programme, should benefit from the balance of one trillion naira.

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