The Senate in session

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The Senate on Wednesday passed the 2022 Appropriation Bill after jerking it up by over N700 billion.

The estimates were increased from N16.4 trillion presented by President Muhammad I Buhari in October to N17.12 trillion.

The Senate in raising the budget estimates, as hiked the Oil Benchmark Price from $57 to $62, arguing that it was to reflect the current market values of the oil prices in the international market.

This is done against the country’s daily oil production rate pegged at 1.86 million per barrel.

The lower chamber had on Tuesday passed the budget with alterations.

The the Senate version was passed after the consideration and adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Appropriation.

While presenting the report, the committee’s chairman, Barau Jibrin (APC Kano), recommended that N869.6 billion be approved for Statutory Transfers (a category into which the National Assembly budget falls).

He also informed the Senate that the deficit was increased by N98 billion ”to accommodate some other requests of national importance not provided for in the budget estimates and which could not be covered by the revenue increase.”

The details showed that Statutory transfer is N869,667,187,542; Debt service, N3,879,952,981,550; Recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, N6,909,849,788,737; Capital expenditure, N5,467,403,959,863.

Mr Jibrin explained that the committee observed the need for stimulation of the economy through increased capital expenditure, ”which will make for infrastructural development, in order to meet the yearnings of the people.”

He further said there was an increase in revenue to Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and independent revenue of the MDAs by N400 billion as a result of the independent report received from the investigation carried out on all government agencies by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) and the various committees of the National Assembly, in their oversight roles.

“We recommend that the additional revenue increase be allocated to the agencies that came forward with additional financial report which was not provided for in the budget,” he said.

“These agencies include Works and Housing, INEC (for 2023 General Elections), Defence, National Population Commission (NPC) – for 2022 Population Census, Agriculture and Rural Development, National Security Adviser (NSA), National Assembly (Constituency Outreach) Education, Humanitarian, Water Resources…given that the requests will take care of critical infrastructural deficit for purposes of nation’s development improvement and acceleration.”.

After passing the document, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, commended his colleagues for restoring the budget cycle back to January to December.

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