The Federal Government has directed its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) not to make plans for new projects in 2021 as the preparation of budget estimates for the ensuing year commences.
This was contained in the 2021 Budget Call Circular issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The circular signed by the minister, Zainab Ahmed, stated that “The thrust of the FGN’s capital expenditure programme in 2021 will be the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible, rather than starting new projects. Thus, MDAs are hereby advised that new projects will not be admitted into the capital budget for 2021 unless adequate provision has been made for the completion of all,” the circular stated.
The circular also stated that there would not be personnel budget for MDAs that have yet to be on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
“It is expected that all MDAS have now complied with Presidential directive to enrol on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS). MDAS not vet on IPPIS will not be provided for in the personnel budget for 2021.”
On personnel training and travels, the government said: “MDAs are enjoined to restrict their travels, training and capacity development programmes to locations within the country and as close to their office locations as possible. Foreign travels and training should be limited to exceptional cases, and with necessary approvals in accordance with extant government policy.”
In addition, the government said that overhead budget ceilings would be retained at the levels in the initial 2020 Appropriation Bill. “Thus, all MDAs are required to work within their 2020 overhead ceilings for the purpose of preparing their 2021 Overhead budget submissions.”
The government also hinted that changing vehicles and furniture would not be part of its priories in the coming year.
The circular stated, “Except where absolutely critical to the functioning of respective MDAs, proposals such as expenditure on vehicles, furnishing, construction/purchase of office or residential buildings and equipping of non-critical offices will not be accommodated in the 2021 budget.”
While warning MDAs not to provide for recurrent expenditure in their capital budget as a way of subverting the recurrent expenditure ceilings, the government said, “The Budget Office shall reallocate any such provisions to capital projects within/outside the MDA as it deems appropriate.”
The federal government listed stimulating the economy by preventing business collapse and ensuring liquidity and job creation as some of its priorities in the ensuing year.
Other priority areas as contained in the circular are; undertaking growth-enhancing and job-creating infrastructural investments in roads, bridges, solar power, and communications technologies; promoting manufacturing and local production at all levels and advocate the use of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services; and extending protection to the poor and other vulnerable groups, including women and persons living with disabilities, through pro-poor spending.
The circular stated further that prominence would be accorded to human capital development, specifically health, education and social inclusion in resource allocation.
The government also called on MDAs to “take into consideration the 2023 Medium Term policies/strategies contained in the 2021 Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) which is the FGN’s pre-budget statement” in preparing their budget estimates.
It added that “the budget shall be prepared using the Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) approach and in line with the government’s policy thrust, as articulated in the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).”
The federal government advised MDAs to carefully scrutinize and justify their projects and programmes for which resources are to be allocated in line with the immediate needs of the country as well as government’s development priorities as set out in the NESP