L-R: President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, and Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives, at the State House, Abuja, FCT File Photo

Defence, Health receive lion’s share as NASS passes N21.827trillion 2023 budget

*The Appropriations Committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives in the National Assembly, Abuja, explain the N1.3trillion increase to N21.8trillion passed budget results from additional funding earmarked for the National Population Commission’s planned 2023 census, and N173billion appropriated for INEC ahead of the 2023 General Elections

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The National Assembly (NASS) Wednesday, December 28, 2022, in Abuja, FCT, raised the 2023 Budget proposal from N20.51trillion to N21.82trillion and passed the Appropriation Bill at a plenary.

ConsumerConnect reports the Appropriations Committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives had explained that the N1.3trillion increase in the budget size was due to the additional funding earmarked for the National Population Commission (NPC) ahead of the planned 2023 census as well as the N173billion appropriated for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in preparation for the 2023 General Elections.

The National Assembly Complex

In the passed budget figure, the Nigerian Army, Navy, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Aviation, and Science and Technology received considerable increases.

The Federal Legislature also increased the oil price benchmark proposed for the budget from $70 per barrel to $75 per barrel.

However, the NASS  retained other parameters as earlier proposed by President Buhari like 1.69 million barrels of oil production per day, N435.57 to a US Dollar ollar; 3.75 percent GDP growth rate and 17.16 percent inflation rate.

In his earlier presentation of the report in the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North), Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, noted that out of the N21.827trillion budget size, N967.486billion was meant for statutory transfer, N8.329trillion for non-debt recurrent cost, N5.972trillion for capital expenditure, and N6.557tn for debt servicing.

Under the N967.48bn statutory transfers, the National Assembly Office has N30.492bn; the Senate got N33.267bn; the House of Representatives, N51.994bn; and National Assembly Service Commission, N10.555bn

Others are legislative aides, N16.520bn; general services N11.307bn; National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, N7.411bn.

Senator Jibrin also said N30.173bn is allotted to severance / inauguration of outgoing and incoming 9th and 10th Assembly legislators; N10bn for construction of NASC building; N2.5bn for completion of NILDS Headquarters, etc.

Outside the National Assembly, N165bn is earmarked for National Judicial Council, N119.9bn for Niger Delta Development Commission and  N103bn for Universal Basic Education.

From the N5.972tn proposed capital expenditure, the Ministry of Works and Housing has the lion’s vote of N398.275bn, followed by the Ministry of Defence with N285.045bn, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N248.358bi, Ministry of Education, N153.735bn.

Others are the Ministry of Health, N134.909bn,  Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, N132.572bn; Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, N166 747bn; Office of the National Security Adviser N70.331bn; Presidency, N20.115bn; Ministry of Interior N45.622bn;  Federal Ministry of Water Resources N83.256bn etc .

Call for presidential assent  before 2023

Following the passage of the next year budget,  Senate President Ahmad Lawan, urged President Buhari to assent to the Appropriation Act before the year runs out do as to maintain the existing January to December budget cycle implementation in the economy.

Extension of 2022 budget life cycle with supplementary appropriation

The Senate Wednesday, December 28, also approved an N819.54bn supplementary budget earlier requested by the Buhari administration.

Buhari had stated that the supplementary budget is meant to help rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by flooding across the West African country.

In a recent Executive communication, the President sought the approval of the National Assembly for the N819.54bn supplementary budget.

The Senate accordingly gave the request expeditious consideration, and passage by making it pass the required legislative processes “within 30 minutes”, according to report.

Speaking in the development, Lawan stated that the 2022 budget extension would provide the required time for implementation of the N819.5bn 2022 supplementary budget raised by the President.

However, Senator Muhammad Ndume  (Borno South), during a debate on the request, said it was impossible for the supplementary budget to be implemented before March 2023.

Supplementary budget okay for capital projects: Muda Yusuf

Commenting on the propriety or otherwise of the 2022 supplementary budget, Dr. Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, said the extension would not affect proceedings, but enable the government to implement capital projects disturbed by the flooding, The Punch report noted.

Yusuf stated: “I think it is a good decision for the implementation of the budget especially capital budget.

“You know there are some issues around the flooding, roads washed off; all of these things were not foreseen, a force majeure.

“Now that the President has presented the supplementary budget, he needs time to execute those projects for proper implementation because of the flooding and damage done to infrastructure.”

The expert also said: “We would not lose much by allowing it to happen.”

Sheriffdeen Tella, a professor of Economics at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, in Ogun State, said the process is constitutionally right as it gives more consideration to the budget.

Prof. Tells stated: “The extension of implementation of the budget is supported by constitutional provisions to take care of delay in the passage of budgets.

“Such provisions allow for proper consideration of the budget before passage.”

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