. Complains about adjustments in estimates
President Muhammadu Buhari today, signed Nigeria’s 2022 budget into law, which comes two weeks after the Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill.
The budget statutory transfer was put at N869.6 billion, debt service at N3,88 trillion, recurrent (non-debt) expenditure at N6.9 trillion, and capital expenditure at N5.46 trillion.
The bill was presented to the President last Friday by his Senior Special Assistant (Senate) on National Assembly, Senator Babajide Omoworare, at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Buhari signed the budget in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
The signing of the bill into law prepares it for immediate implementation from January for the 2022 fiscal year.
The legislators had approved a total expenditure of N17.126 trillion against the N16.3 trillion proposed by the President in October; resulting in over N700 billion increases.
Adjustment in estimates
However, Buhari expressed displeasure with some of the changes and major additions and reductions made by the lawmakers in critical projects “without justification”.
Specifically, he expressed worries over the new insertions, outright removals, reductions and/or increases in the amounts allocated to projects, as well as reduction of the provisions made for about 10,733 projects and the introduction of 6,576 new projects into the budget.
The budget accretion came from increases in oil benchmark price from $57 to $62/barrel to reflect the current market values in the international market, and daily production of 1.86 million barrels.
Others came from an increase in projected Federal Government independent revenue by N400 billion, and inclusion of new provisions totalling N36.59 billion for National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote, which the President said negated the principles of separation of powers and financial autonomy of the Legislature.
He was equally not happy with the reductions in the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Bonds by N22 billion, and the Non-Regular Allowances of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Navy by N15 billion and N5 billion respectively, without any explanation.
To request for an amendment as soon as the lawmakers return from their recess, to ensure that critical ongoing projects cardinal to his administration do not suffer a setback as a result of reduced funding.
Buhari argued that most of the projects inserted relate to matters that are basically the responsibilities of state and local governments and do not seem properly conceptualised, designed, and cost.
He therefore said he would revert to the National Assembly with a request for an amendment as soon as the lawmakers return from their recess, to ensure that critical ongoing projects cardinal to his administration do not suffer a setback as a result of reduced funding.
He added that the cuts by the lawmakers could render the implementation of the budget impossible.
He recalled that during the presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill, he had noted that the new fiscal year would be very crucial in his administration’s efforts to complete and put to use critical agenda projects, as well as improve the general living conditions of Nigerians.
He promised to commence early preparation of the 2023 transition budget and quickly begin the process to ensure early submission of the 2023-2025 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper as well as the 2023 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.