The 2022 budget of the Federal Government has passed the second reading at the Senate.
The passage of the Appropriation bill comes after a lengthy debate which lasted two days.
President Muhammadu Buhari presented a total budget of N16.34 trillion to a joint session of the National Assembly last Thursday.
More than half of the senators made their contributions on the floor of the Senate during the debate. Some lawmakers commended the federal government for 100 per cent implementation of the 2020 budget and about 60 per cent implementation of the 2021 budget.
Others also used the opportunity to call for infrastructural developments in their constituencies.
A few senators faulted the projections of the budget, especially the federal government’s plans to borrow to fund the budget while others commended the executive for its plan on economic recovery.
At the end of the debate, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for submitting the budget on time.
The National Assembly, he said, is ready to work and pass the budget before the end of December.
He agreed with senators who spoke on the need for more revenue generation and remittance from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
He said the books of the MDAs will be monitored closely to ensure more revenue generation and remittance from them.
Borrowing, Mr Lawan said, is not bad “as long as we ensure that what is borrowed is used capitally for infrastructural development.”
He also urged the petroleum committees to be alert to the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and to ensure that government funds are appropriately applied.
After the second reading, the budget referred to the committee on appropriations, which will distribute it across the standing committees of the upper legislative chamber after which the MDAs will appear before them and defend their 2021 budget performance and 2022 allocations.
The committee was given four weeks to report back to the whole house.
The Senate suspended its plenary till 9 November to allow for budget defence sessions.
The budget contains a crude oil benchmark price of $57 per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.88 million barrels (inclusive of condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day).
This includes Grants and Aid of N63.38 billion, as well as the revenues of 63 Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs).
The budget also contains a non-debt recurrent expenditure of N6.83 trillion, personnel cost of N4.11 trillion and debt service of N3.61 trillion.
Statutory transfers, the category to which the National Assembly falls, have been put at N768.28 billion while Pension, Gratuities & Retirees Benefits was put at N577 billion and Overhead cost at N792.39 billion.
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