Reps Summon Foreign Affairs Minister Over Failure To Defend 2022 Amended Budget

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has summoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, for failing to appear before it to defend a proposed amendment to the 2022 Appropriation Act.

The Chairman of the committee, Buba Yakubu, explained that the minister was invited before the committee to explain why the ministry was asking for an amendment of its 2022 budget.

According to him, the committee had discovered in its scrutiny of the budget that funds were allocated to mission buildings and staff accommodations.

READ ALSO: Signing Of Electoral Act Amendment Bill Postponed Till Friday

While warning the minister for failing to appear before the committee to defend its previous budget, Yakubu said such would no longer be tolerated.

The lawmaker explained that the development followed the committee’s discovery in its scrutiny of the budget that funds were allocated to mission buildings and staff accommodation. He added that where those embassies had in place adequate provisions and school fees, noting that supplements were provided where schools were free in public schools in English-speaking host countries.

What Buhari Said About Fuel Subsidy In Proposed Amended 2022 Budget (FULL TEXT)

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, wrote the National Assembly seeking the approval of a supplementary budget of N2.55trn for fuel subsidy and the removal of N887.99 billion worth of projects inserted into the 2022 budget by the legislature.

Read the full text of the letter entitled, “SUBMISSION OF THE 2022 APPROPRIATION AMENDMENT PROPOSAL” below:

 

“As l indicated at the signing of the 2022 Appropriation Act, I forward herewith the Proposals for the amendment of the 2022 Appropriation Act (as detailed in Schedules I-V), for the kind consideration and approval by the Senate.

“Let me seize this opportunity to once again express my deep gratitude to the leadership and members of the Senate for the expeditious consideration and passage of the 2022 Appropriation Bill as well as the enabling 2021 Finance Bill.

“It has become necessary to present this amendment proposal considering the impacts of the recent suspension of the Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy removal and the adverse implications that some changes made by the National

Assembly in the 2022 Appropriation Act could have for the successful implementation of the budget.

“It is important to restore the provisions made for various key capital projects in the 2022 Executive Proposal (see details in Schedule l) that were cut by the National Assembly.  This is to ensure that critical ongoing projects that are cardinal to this administration, and those nearing completion, do not suffer a setback due to reduced funding.

“It is equally important to reinstate the N25.81 billion cut from the provision for the Power Sector Reform Programme in order to meet the Federal Government’s commitment under the financing plan agreed with the World Bank.

“In addition, it is necessary to reinstate the four (4) capital projects totaling N1.42 billion in the Executive Proposal for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources that were removed in the 2022 Appropriation Act.

“Furthermore, there is critical and urgent need to restore the N3 billion cut from the provision made for payment of mostly long outstanding Local Contractors’ Debts and Other Liabilities as part of our strategy to reflate the economy and spur growth (see Schedule I).

“You will agree with me that the inclusion of National Assembly’s expenditures in the Executive Budget negates the principles of separation of Powers and financial autonomy of the Legislature. It is therefore necessary to transfer the National Assembly’s expenditures totaling N16.59 billion in the Service Wide Vote to the National Assembly Statutory Transfer provision (see Schedule l).

“It is also imperative to reinstate the N22.0 billion cut from the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Mature Loans to ensure that government can meet its obligations under already issued bonds as and when they mature.

“The cuts made from provisions for the recurrent spending of Nigeria’s Foreign Missions, which are already constrained, are capable of causing serious embarrassment to the country as they mostly relate to office and residential rentals.

“Similarly, the reductions in provisions for allowances payable to personnel of the Nigerian Navy and Police Formations and Commands could create serious issues for government. It is therefore imperative that these provisions be restored as proposed (see Schedule II).

“It is also absolutely necessary to remove all capital projects is that replicated in the 2022 Appropriation Act; 139 out of the 254 such projects totaling N13.24 billion have been identified to be deleted from the budget.

“Some significant and non-mandate projects were introduced in the budgets of the Ministry of Transportation, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (see Schedule III). There are several other projects that have been included by the National Assembly in the budgets of agencies that are outside their mandate areas. The Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning has been directed to work with your relevant Committees to comprehensively identify and realign all such misplaced projects.

“It is also necessary to restore the title /descriptions of 32 projects in the Appropriation Act to the titles contained in the Executive Proposal for the Ministry of Water Resources (see Schedule IV) in furtherance of our efforts to complete and put to use critical agenda projects.

“The Appropriation Amendment request is for a total sum of N106,161,499,052 (One hundred and six billion, one hundred and sixty-one million, four hundred and ninety-nine thousand, and fifty-two Naira only) for Capital Expenditures and N43,870,592,044 (Forty-three billion, eight hundred and seventy million, five hundred and ninety-two thousand, and forty-four Naira only) for Recurrent Expenditures. I, therefore, request the National Assembly to make the above amendments without increasing the budget deficit. I urge you to roll back some of the N887.99 billion of projects earlier inserted in the budget by the National Assembly to accommodate these amendments.

“However, following the suspension of the PMS subsidy removal, the 2022 Budget Framework has been revised to fully provide for PMS subsidy (see Schedule V). An additional provision of N2.557 trillion will be required to fund the petrol subsidy in 2022. Consequently, the Federation ACCOunt (Main Pool) revenue for the three tiers of government is projected to decline by N2.00 trillion, while FGN’s share from the Account is projected to reduce by N1.05 trillion. Therefore, the amount available to fund the FGN Budget is projected to decline by N969.09 billion.

“Aggregate expenditure is projected to increase by N45.85 billion, due to additional domestic debt service provision of N102.5 billion net of the reductions in Statutory Transfers by N56.67 billion, as follows: NDDC, by N12.61 billion from N102.78 billion to N90.18 billion; NEDC, by N5.90 billion from N48.08 billion to N42.18 billion; UBEC, by N19.08 billion from N112.29 billion to N93.21 billion; Basic Health Care Fund, byN 9.54 billion from N56.14 billion to N46.60 billion; and NASENI, by N9.54 billion from N56.14 billion to N46.60 billion.

“Total budget deficit is projected to increase by N1.01 trillion to N7.40 trillion, representing 4.01% of GDP. The incremental deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.

“Equally, it is imperative that Clause 10 of the 2022 Appropriation Act which stipulates that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) are authorized to charge and defray from all money standing in credit to the units as revenues, penalties or sanctions at 10% for the technical setup and operational cost at the units in this financial year be repealed.

“This clause is in conflict with the Act establishing these Agencies, as well as some other laws and financial regulations of the government. These are neither Revenue Generating Agencies nor Regulatory Bodies that generate revenue or charge penalty fees. They are fully funded (Personnel, Overhead, and Capital) by Government through Budgetary provisions.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, as well as the Finance Act 2021, require these Agencies to remit fully any recovered funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). This clause may lay dangerous precedence, and spark clamours for similar treatment by other anti-corruption agencies.

“Also, Clause 11 stipulates that “Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law in force, Nigerian Embassies and Missions are authorised to expend funds allocated to them under the Capital components without having to seek approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” should likewise be repealed. It too is inconsistent with extant Financial Regulations and the Public Procurement Act, which set thresholds for approving officers and Parastatal / Ministerial Tenders Boards for awards of Contracts for the procurement of goods and Services. This also amounts to an intrusion of the Legislature into what is an executive function.

“Given the urgency of the request for amendments, I I seek the cooperation of the National Assembly for expeditious legislative action on the 2022 Appropriation Amendment Proposal in order to sustain the gains of an early passage of the budget.

“Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

 

Nigeria Has To Borrow To Fund Infrastructural Development, Says Lawan

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has justified the need for the Federal Government to borrow funds, saying it is necessary for infrastructural development in the country.

He stated this on Tuesday at the Senate Chamber upon the resumption of the lawmakers from recess.

Lawan stated that funding the 2022 budget is based on significant borrowing, adding that the nation is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

The Senate President equally emphasised the need to construct and provide infrastructure in all parts of the country because infrastructure is needed for development.

READ ALSO: Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial Adjourned As He Objects To Fresh Charges

While accepting the Federal Government cannot continue to borrow endlessly, he warned that it is imperative that we need to improve on the revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio.

“Distinguished Colleagues, funding of the 2022 Budget is predicated on significant borrowing. Our country is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,” he said.

“Distinguished Colleagues, as we all know the oversight of the implementation of the Budget is a critical function of the National Assembly.

“We must therefore strategize on effective oversight of the implementation of the 2022 Budget. This is going to be the last budget that would be fully implemented for 12 months in the life of the Ninth Senate. We, therefore, need to supervise very closely.

“At about 8% Revenue to GDP ratio, our country is basically at 50% of what is required of the revenue to GDP of 15% for it to support any significant economic development.”

See the Senate President’s full speech below:

SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, DISTINGUISHED SENATOR AHMAD IBRAHIM LAWAN, PhD, CON, AT SENATE RESUMPTION, SENATE CHAMBER, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMPLEX, THREE ARMS ZONE, ASO ROCK, ABUJA, JANUARY 18TH , 2022.

Protocol,

My Distinguished Colleagues, I welcome you back from our Christmas and New Year recess. I believe that the recess gave us the opportunity to celebrate the festivities with our families and loved ones.

My Distinguished Colleagues, before we went on the recess, we considered and passed the Appropriation Bill on 22nd of December, 2021. That was the third consecutive time to pass the annual appropriation bill before end of year.

The Bill was signed into law on 31st of December, 2021 by Mr President, to give the desired effect of starting the implementation of the Budget from January 2022.

Distinguished Colleagues, I once again commend the Senate, indeed the National Assembly and the Executive arm of Government for working tirelessly to maintain the instituted January to December budget cycle.

Distinguished Colleagues, as we all know the oversight of the implementation of the Budget is a critical function of the National Assembly. We must therefore strategize on effective oversight of the implementation of the 2022 Budget. This is going to be the last budget that would be fully implemented for 12 months in the life of the Ninth Senate. We, therefore, need to supervise very closely.

Distinguished Colleagues, funding of the 2022 Budget is predicated on significant borrowing. Our country is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. We have to construct and provide infrastructure, in all parts of our country because infrastructure is needed for our nation to develop. However, we do not generate enough revenues to fund the provision of such infrastructure. Until more revenues are generated, the country has to borrow and also resort to other sources of funding our infrastructural development. But we cannot continue to borrow endlessly. It is imperative that we need to improve on the revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio. At about 8% Revenue to GDP ratio, our country is basically at 50% of what is required of the revenue to GDP of 15% for it to support any significant economic development.

Distinguished Colleagues, the Senate will develop a strategy of engagement with revenue-generating agencies on how to make them achieve their targets and generate more revenues in 2022. The Senate will ensure that we boost their revenue-generating drive with a view to reducing borrowing for the development of our much-needed infrastructure. This is a major challenge for our development and we need to treat as such.

Distinguished Colleagues, the Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) 2021 was enacted with a view to providing better investments climate for better performance by the Oil and Gas industry. The Senate therefore, need to seriously supervise the implementation of the PIA 2021. We must ensure that our country starts to benefit from the passage of the PIA.

Distinguished Colleagues, the Senate postponed discussions on the consideration of the response of Mr President on the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill to enable us to consult with our counterparts in the House of Representatives and also consult with our Constituents. Like we all know, the Senate and indeed the National Assembly worked so hard on the Bill. Having consulted, the Senate will expeditiously look into the issue.

Distinguished Colleagues, the Security situation in our country is still dire. We must remain focused and determined to work with the Executive arm of government, and also continue to support our armed forces and security agencies. We must continue to prioritize the Security and welfare of our citizens as enshrined in your constitution nor despair.

I urge us not to be discouraged by the situation. We should make this year as the year for the final securing of our nation from the numerous security challenges.

Distinguished Colleagues, the review of the 1999 Constitution is a major plank of our Legislature Agenda. Our Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution has done so much work so far. Working with their counter parts in the House of Representatives the report of the Committee will be presented to the Senate for consideration soon. The Senate will consider the report and the National Assembly will communicate to the State Houses of Assembly within the first quarter of this year.

Distinguished Colleagues, Political activities leading to 2023 general elections have already started. This Senate should continue to provide the support that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needs for successful elections across the country.

Distinguished Colleagues, most of our colleagues will be running for various political offices in 2023. I wish all our distinguished colleagues easy victories and success at the polls.

In conclusion, I thank all our distinguished colleagues for remaining focused and firm in our determination to deliver service to our country.

Thank you for Listening.

May God bless the Federal of Nigeria. Amen.

2022 Budget: Buhari Will Not Hamper Implementation Despite Changes – Garba Shehu

A combination of photos of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will not hamper the implementation of the 2022 budget despite the numerous changes made by the National Assembly.

This is according to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, on Sunday.

President Buhari had on Friday morning signed the budget into law and expressed strong reservations on what he described as worrisome changes made by the National Assembly to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal.

Two days after, the presidential spokesman dismissed reports of a crisis between his principal and the federal lawmakers.

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs 2022 Budget, Decries Changes Made By NASS

He noted that while it is true that the “President expressed disagreement with these and many of the other alterations, including the “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects’,” innumerable lies are being spread about the President being “angry” at, had “blasted” or “lashed out” at the Parliament. This cannot be farther from the truth.”

“Mr. President was clear and candid in expressing his reservations with the numerous changes to the 2022 Budget made by the National Assembly, which would hamper its implementation,” the statement read.

See the full statement issued by Garba Shehu below:

PRESIDENCY: NO CRISIS OVER BUDGET BETWEEN EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATURE, THERE WILL BE NONE

-REPORTS OF BUHARI ANGER WITH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FICTIONAL.

The Presidency wishes to clear the air regarding the widely viewed/reported episode on Friday, December 31st at the State House during the signing of the 2022 Budget and Finance Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari; specifically on the insertion in the 2022 Appropriation Act, of 6,576 new schemes worth about N37 billion by the National Assembly.

While it is true that the President expressed disagreement with these and many of the other alterations, including the “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects’,” innumerable lies are being spread about the President being “angry” at, had “blasted” or “lashed out” at the Parliament. This cannot be farther from the truth.

As the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan said shortly after the budget-signing ceremony, disagreements as the ones listed by the President are normal in the everyday Executive-Parliamentary relationship because, as he explained, “executive and legislative judgements don’t always have to be the same.”

While we note that there are people who are trying to create a fiasco between the two arms of government on account of the budget, we assure that they will, in the end, be disappointed. The Executive and the 9th National Assembly have since moved away from the wild, destructive political games of the past, conducting themselves in a way that puts national interest supreme in their decisions. We doubt if there is a patriotic citizen who wants to see the return of the operating environment engendered by the 8th Senate when an elected government was held in chains, held hostage to the desperate political ambitions of a clique, and the public denied needed services including that which impinged on national security. Happily, the 9th National Assembly is more about policy than politics.

Under the constitution, both arms of government are coequal and at the same time, independent and interdependent. The rule of the game is cooperation and the President, as a democrat fully accepts this.

Rationale for Assenting to the 2022 Appropriation Act:

Mr. President was clear and candid in expressing his reservations with the numerous changes to the 2022 Budget made by the National Assembly, which would hamper its implementation. However, to respond to critics that question why assent to the Budget if it was so severely tampered with, we wish to respond as follows:

(1) Need to Save Value-Additive Projects, Programs & Policies:

Although over 10,733 projects were reduced and 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly, there are tens of thousands more provisions in the 2022 Budget, all of which, when efficiently and effectively implemented, will have significant developmental impact on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Nigerians.

Given Mr. President’s commitment to improving the lot of the Common Man, it was felt that it would not be wise to throw away the baby with the bathwater. Ongoing Capital Projects, Critical Recurrent Votes, Priority New Projects – all feature in the 2022 Budget and Mr. President’s forbearance in assenting to the Budget will save these provisions from implementation delays and other challenges.

(2) Dealing with Modern Democratic Norms:

President Buhari is a democrat who deeply believes in the supremacy of the Constitution, with its checks and balances across the three arms of Government. In terms of the passage of legislations like the Appropriation Act and other Money Bills, the National Assembly has equal responsibilities with the Executive. Indeed, if Mr. President had declined assent to the 2022 Appropriation Bill, the National Assembly has powers to override the President’s veto if they can drum up a 2/3 majority vote. This is the constitution. Happily, this situation has not arisen during the tenure of Mr. President’s Administration, and the Executive’s relationship with the Leadership of the 9th National Assembly is much improved over what happened with the 8th National Assembly. It is on account of his confidence in the strength of this excellent working relationship that Mr. President has directed that an Amendment Budget Proposal should be prepared and submitted to the National Assembly, once they return from their recess. It is hoped that the National Assembly will carefully consider and approve the 2022 Amendment Budget Proposals, once presented to them in due course, for the benefit of all Nigerians.

It is important therefore that, in place of “anger” or confrontation, President Buhari showed the democracy-loving side of his personality as he signed the budget at the same time calling for dialogue with the parliament to resolve the contentious issues.

The Presidency under Muhammadu Buhari and the parliament under Lawal and Gbajabiamila are committed to a good neighborly relationship and this or any other disagreement between the two arms of government will not alter the dynamics of that relationship.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

January 2, 2022

Full Text: Buhari’s Remarks After Signing 2022 Budget Into Law

This picture taken on December 31, 2021, shows President Muhammadu Buhari holding the 2022 Budget at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

Speech by President Muhammadu Buhari at the signing into law of the 2022 Appropriation Bill and the 2021 Finance Bill on Friday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

PROTOCOLS

I am delighted to sign into law today the 2022 Appropriation Bill as well as the enabling 2021 Finance Bill.

2. I would like to thank the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and indeed all the Distinguished and Honourable Leaders and Members of the National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and passage of these Bills.

3. I also appreciate the continuing cooperation and commitment of the Ninth National Assembly to the restoration of a predictable January to December fiscal year, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

4. The Finance Bill 2021 is particularly critical for the successful implementation of the 2022 Budget. Its passage further underscores our firm commitment to regularly support federal Appropriation Bills with Finance Bills designed to facilitate their implementation.

5. I equally appreciate the continued mutual understanding, collaboration, and productive engagements between officials of the Executive and the Legislative arms of government which have made this expeditious consideration as well as the passage of the Bills possible.

6. We must continue to sustain this partnership in the interest of our people in order to ensure the effective implementation of the budget and realization of its laudable objectives.

\7. As you will recall, I laid the 2022 Appropriation Bill before the Joint Session of the National Assembly on 7th October 2021 and forwarded the 2021 Finance Bill thereafter. This Administration remains committed to the early presentation of the annual appropriation bill to the National Assembly to ensure its passage before the beginning of the fiscal year.

8. As the 2023 Budget is going to be a transition budget, work will start in earnest 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.

9. Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are to cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, more specifically with the Budget Office of the Federation, to realize this very important objective.

10. The 2022 Budget that I just signed into law provides for aggregate expenditures of N17.127 trillion, an increase of N735.85 billion over the initial Executive Proposal for a total expenditure of N16.391 trillion. N186.53 billion of the increase however came from additional critical expenditures that I had authorized the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning to forward to the National Assembly. The Minister will provide the public with the details of the budget as passed by the National Assembly, and signed into law by me.

11. As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill, the fiscal year 2022 is very crucial in our efforts to complete and put to use critical agenda projects, as well as improve the general living conditions of our people.

12. It is in this regard that I must express my reservations about many of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal.

13. Some of the worrisome changes are as follows:

Increase in projected FGN Independent Revenue by N400 billion, the justification for which is yet to be provided to the Executive;

Reduction in the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Bonds by N22 billion without any explanation;

Reduction of the provisions for the Non-Regular Allowances of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Navy by N15 billion and N5 billion respectively. This is particularly worrisome because personnel cost provisions are based on agencies’ nominal roll and approved salaries/allowances;

Furthermore, an increase of N21.72 billion in the Overhead budgets of some MDAs, while the sum of N1.96 billion was cut from the provision for some MDAs without apparent justification;

Increase in the provision for Capital spending (excluding Capital share in Statutory Transfer) by a net amount of N575.63 billion, from N4.89 trillion to N5.47 trillion. Nevertheless, provisions for some critical projects were reduced.

These include:

Reduction of N12.6 billion in the Ministry of Transport’s budget for the ongoing Rail Modernisation projects,

Reduction of N25.8 billion from Power Sector Reform Programme under the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and Reduction of N14.5 billion from several projects of the Ministry of Agriculture, and introducing over 1,500 new projects into the budgets of this Ministry and its agencies.

Inclusion of new provisions totalling N36.59 billion for National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote which negates the principles of separation of Powers and financial autonomy of the Legislative arm of government.

The changes to the original Executive proposal are in the form of new insertions, outright removals, reductions and/or increases in the amounts allocated to projects.

Provisions made for as many as 10,733 projects were reduced while 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly.

Reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment’ projects. The cuts in the provisions for several of these projects by the National Assembly may render the projects unimplementable or set back their completion, especially some of this Administration’s strategic capital projects.

Most of the projects inserted relate to matters that are basically the responsibilities of State and Local Governments and do not appear to have been properly conceptualized, designed, and cost.

Many more projects have been added to the budgets of some MDAs with no consideration for the institutional capacity to execute the additional projects and/or for the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

14. It is surprising that despite the National Assembly increasing projected revenue by N609.27 billion, the additional Executive request of N186.53 billion for critical expenditure items could not be accommodated without increasing the deficit, while the sum of N550.59 billion from the projected incremental revenues was allocated at the discretion of National Assembly.

15. I signed the 2022 Appropriation Bill into law to enable its implementation to commence on 1st January 2022. However, I will revert to the National Assembly with a request for amendment and/or virement as soon as the Assembly resumes to ensure that critical ongoing projects that are cardinal to this administration, and those nearing completion, do not suffer a setback due to reduced funding.

16. Despite the lingering adverse effects of COVID-19 on budget implementation, I am happy with the success recorded in the implementation of the 2021 Budget. The sum of N3.94 trillion that was provided for the implementation of capital projects by MDAs during the fiscal year has been released fully.

17. To enable MDAs to complete the implementation of their 2021 capital projects and optimize the impact of the capital budget on the economy, they have been allowed to continue to expend the funds released for their 2021 capital budgets till 31st March 2022. I deeply appreciate the understanding and speedy action of the National Assembly on this matter.

18. As the 2022 Budget will be the last full-year budget to be implemented by our Administration, its effective implementation is very critical for delivering our legacy projects, promoting social inclusion, and strengthening the resilience of the economy.

19. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will implement all measures required to ensure timely and targeted release of capital votes. All Ministries, Departments and Agencies are to effect early commencement of project implementation, while ensuring productive use of funds provided for achievement of the objectives set for their sectors.

20. Considering the incidence of new COVID-19 variants globally, we will ensure timely implementation of measures provided for in the 2022 Budget to contain the spread of the virus and protect our people. We continue to count on the collaboration of the State governments in our effort to protect the lives and livelihood of our people.

21. To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2022 Budget, we will further intensify our revenue mobilization efforts. I am optimistic about our ability to finance the budget considering the positive global oil market outlook and the continuing improvement in our non-oil revenues.

22. To achieve our revenue targets, revenue-generating agencies, and indeed all MDAs must ensure prompt and full remittance of collected revenues. Relevant Agencies must also ensure the realization of our crude oil production and export targets. I also appeal to our fellow citizens and the business community at large to fulfill their tax obligations promptly.

23. However, being a deficit budget, the specific Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly. I count on the cooperation of the National Assembly for a quick consideration and approval of the Plan when submitted. All borrowings will be judiciously utilized and invested in our future growth and prosperity.

24. MDAs are to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprises and/or the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission to explore available opportunities for public-private partnerships, concessions as well as climate finance arrangements to fast-track the pace of our infrastructural development.

25. I thank the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, and all who worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much towards producing the 2022 Appropriation Act that I signed today.

26. Let me conclude by commending the understanding, sacrifice, and resilience of our people during these challenging times. As a Government, we remain committed to improving the general living conditions of our people. We will continue to implement measures aimed at moderating the unintended negative effects of policies on the citizenry.

27. I thank you most sincerely for your kind attention. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

2022 Budget: Why Buhari Is Unhappy With Changes By NASS

This picture taken on December 31, 2021, shows President Muhammadu Buhari holding the 2022 Budget at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday expressed strong reservations on the “worrisome changes” made by the National Assembly to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal.

The President stated this on Friday in Abuja when he signed into law the 2022 Appropriation Bill and the 2021 Finance Bill in the presence of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and some members of the Federal Executive Council.

He recounted that during the presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill, he had said the fiscal year 2022 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 the people.

“It is in this regard that I must express my reservations about many of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Remarks After Signing 2022 Budget Into Law [Full Text]

“Some of the worrisome changes are as follows: Increase in projected FGN Independent Revenue by N400 billion, the justification for which is yet to be provided to the Executive; Reduction in the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Bonds by N22 billion without any explanation; Reduction of the provisions for the Non-Regular Allowances of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Navy by N15 billion and N5 billion respectively.

“This is particularly worrisome because personnel cost provisions are based on agencies’ nominal roll and approved salaries/allowances. Furthermore, an increase of N21.72 billion in the overhead budgets of some MDAs, while the sum of N1.96 billion was cut from the provision for some MDAs without apparent justification; increase in the provision for capital spending (excluding capital share in Statutory Transfer) by a net amount of N575.63 billion, from N4.89 trillion to N5.47 trillion.”

The President was also concerned about the reductions in provisions for some critical projects, including N12.6 billion in the Ministry of Transport’s budget for the ongoing rail modernisation projects; N25.8 billion from Power Sector Reform Programme under the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; N14.5 billion from several projects of the Ministry of Agriculture, and introducing over 1,500 new projects into the budgets of the ministry and its agencies.

He also expressed his reservations on the inclusion of new provisions totalling N36.59 billion for National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote which negates the principles of separation of powers and financial autonomy of the Legislative arm of government; the changes to the original Executive proposal are in the form of new insertions, outright removals, reductions and/or increases in the amounts allocated to projects; the reduction of provisions made for as many as 10,733 projects and introduction of 6,576 new projects into the budget by the National Assembly, as well as reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘empowerment’ projects.

President Muhammadu Buhari signs the 2022 Budget at the State House in Abuja on December 31, 2021.

 

“The cuts in the provisions for several of these projects by the National Assembly may render the projects unimplementable or set back their completion, especially some of this administration’s strategic capital projects,” President Buhari decried. “Most of the projects inserted relate to matters that are basically the responsibilities of state and local governments, and do not appear to have been properly conceptualised, designed and costed.

‘‘Many more projects have been added to the budgets of some MDAs with no consideration for the institutional capacity to execute the additional projects and/or for the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.”

He declared that it was surprising that despite the National Assembly increasing projected revenue by N609.27 billion, the additional Executive request of N186.53 billion for critical expenditure items could not be accommodated without increasing the deficit, while the sum of N550.59 billion from the projected incremental revenues was allocated at the discretion of National Assembly.

“I signed the 2022 Appropriation Bill into law to enable its implementation to commence on 1st January 2022,” said the President. “However, I will revert to the National Assembly with a request for amendment and/or virement as soon as the Assembly resumes to ensure that critical ongoing projects that are cardinal to this administration, and those nearing completion, do not suffer a setback due to reduced funding.”

President Buhari, however, commended the understanding and speedy action of the National Assembly on the matter.

Buhari Signs 2022 Budget, Decries Changes Made By NASS

President Muhammadu Buhari signs the 2022 Budget at the State House in Abuja on December 31, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2022 Appropriation Bill of N17.126 trillion into law.

The President signed the budget presented to him by his Senior Special Assistant (Senate) on National Assembly, Senator Babajide Omoworare, on Friday at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He was, however, displeased with some changes as well as major additions and reductions made by the National Assembly in critical projects ‘without justification’.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Remarks After Signing 2022 Budget Into Law [Full Text]

President Buhari highlighted some of the worrisome changes in the budget to include an increase in projected Federal Government independent revenue by N400 billion, reduction in the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Bonds by N22 billion, and reduction of the provisions for the Non-Regular Allowances of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Navy by N15 billion and N5 billion respectively; all without any explanation.

He also expressed his reservations on the inclusion of new provisions totalling N36.59 billion for National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote, which he said negated the principles of separation of powers and financial autonomy of the Legislative arm of government.

The President was also concerned about the changes to the original Executive proposal in the form of new insertions, outright removals, reductions and/or increases in the amounts allocated to projects, as well as reduction of the provisions made for as many as 10,733 projects and the introduction of 6,576 new projects into the budget.

This picture taken on December 31, 2021, shows President Muhammadu Buhari holding the 2022 Budget at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

According to him, most of the projects inserted relate to matters that are basically the responsibilities of state and local governments and do not appear to have been properly conceptualised, designed, and cost.

President Buhari 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 recounted that during the presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill, he stated that the 2022 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.

The President insisted that the cuts by the lawmakers could render the implementation of the budget impossible.

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.

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; and Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, among others, witnessed the signing of the budget.

President Muhammadu Buhari with some of his cabinet members during the signing of the 2022 Budget at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on December 31, 2021.

 

In his response, the Senate President told State House correspondents that the lawmakers were right in their decisions.

The reservations of the Executive, according to him, are not unusual and may not necessarily coincide with that of the legislature.

This comes a week after lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate chambers of the National Assembly passed a budget of N17.126 trillion, increasing the benchmark price of crude from $57 to $62 per barrel.

During the plenary on Wednesday last week, the Senate had passed the 2022 budget while Senate President Lawan gave an assurance that the bill would be sent to the President for assent the following day.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives had also passed the budget last Tuesday. The National Assembly raised the total 2022 budget figure from the proposed N16.391 trillion to N17.126 trillion.

President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, had disclosed to Channels Television on Tuesday that the budget would be signed on Friday.

Channels Television had also obtained a communication addressed to the Presidency by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Ojo Amos, indicating that the bill had been transmitted by the National Assembly.

The document, with Reference Number NASS/CNA/37/Vol.1/35, suggested that the budget was transmitted last Friday and received by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President on Saturday.

It read, “In consonance with the Provisions of the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, I wish, with due respect, to forward to Your Excellency, the authenticated copies of Appropriation Bill, 2022, for your consideration and assent.

“After Your Excellency’s assent, one copy of the signed bill should be retained in your office while the other two are to be returned for our further action, please.

“With my highest regards.”

Buhari To Sign 2022 Budget On Friday

A photo taken on October 7, 2021, shows a bag containing the draft 2022 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the 2022 Appropriation Bill on Friday, the Presidency has confirmed.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, confirmed this to Channels Television on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, the 2022 budget has been transmitted by the National Assembly and the President will sign the bill into law by 10am.

This comes barely a week after lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate chambers of the National Assembly passed a budget of N17.126 trillion, increasing the benchmark price of crude from $57 to $62 per barrel.

READ ALSO: Reps Pass 2022 Budget Of N17.126trn

Meanwhile, Channels Television has obtained a communication addressed to the Presidency by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Ojo Amos.

The document, with Reference Number NASS/CNA/37/Vol.1/35, indicated that the budget was transmitted last Friday and received by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President on Saturday.

It read, “In consonance with the Provisions of the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, I wish, with due respect, to forward to Your Excellency, the authenticated copies of Appropriation Bill, 2022, for your consideration and assent.

“After Your Excellency’s assent, one copy of the signed bill should be retained in your office while the other two are to be returned for our further action, please.

“With my highest regards.”

The Senate passed the 2022 budget during plenary on Wednesday last week in which the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, gave an assurance that the bill would be sent to the President for assent the following day.

On its part, the House of Representatives passed the budget last Tuesday. The National Assembly raised the total 2022 budget figure from the proposed N16.391 trillion to N17.126 trillion.

Signing the budget before the end of the year will enable Nigeria to continue on the path of a one-year budget cycle.

Senate Passes 2022 Appropriation Bill Of N17.13trn

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE STORY: A photo taken on October 7, 2021, shows a bag containing the draft 2022 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The Senate has passed a 2022 budget of N17.126 trillion against N16.391 trillion as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate while passing the bill on Wednesday increased the benchmark price of crude from $57 to $62 per barrel, from which a proposed increase in revenue is expected.

The sum of N3.8 trillion is for debt service, N6.9 trillion recurrent non-debt expenditure while N5.4 trillion is for capital expenditure.

After the passage of the budget Senate President Ahmad Lawan commended the National Assembly for restoring the budget cycle back to January to December.

“We thank Almighty God for helping us achieve that,” Lawan said.

“Let me commend this senate for standing tall. We are rounding the year on a very high note, we passed the PIB and it is not an act, something that was not passed for over 20 years.

“We passed the electoral bill but we know there are some reservations, so we will look at it with the house of representatives. I am sure that this Senate and the National Assembly has done a lot in legislative intervention,” he added.

READ ALSO: FG Declares Public Holidays For Christmas, New Year Celebrations

The House of Representatives also raised and passed the exact figure on Tuesday.

The lawmakers made provision for 10 percent of monies recovered by EFCC and the National Financial Intelligence Unit to be utilised by the agencies for their operations, to strengthen their fight against corruption.

The budget deficit was increased by N98 billion to accommodate some other requests of national importance which have not been captured in the budget estimates and which could not be covered by the revenue increase.

Reps Pass 2022 Budget Of N17.126trn

A file photo of members of the House of Representatives attend a plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on November 24, 2020.

 

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a 2022 budget of N17.126 trillion against the N16.391 trillion sum presented by the president.

The Senate is also expected to pass the appropriation bill on Tuesday.

While the major capital, recurrent, debt service, statutory transfers remain untouched, the House made provision for an increase by N400 billion for agencies that came forward with financial reports which were not captured in the proposed budget, such as INEC, Ministries of Humanitarian Affairs, the National Assembly, and more.

In passing the bill, the House increased the benchmark price for crude from $57 to $62 per barrel, from which a proposed increase in revenue is expected.

READ ALSO: Buhari Writes NASS, Declines Assent To Electoral Act Amendment Bill

The lawmakers also made provision for 10 percent of monies recovered by EFCC and the National Financial Intelligence Unit to be utilised by the agencies for their operations, to strengthen their fight against corruption.

The budget deficit was increased by N98 billion to accommodate some other requests of national importance which have not been captured in the budget estimates and which could not be covered by the revenue increase.

Senate Postpones Passage Of 2022 Budget

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary in the Senate.

 

The Senate has shifted the date for the passage of the 2022 budget until next Tuesday, December 21.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan announced this during the plenary on Wednesday.

The upper chamber had said it would pass the 2022 budget on Wednesday, but it appears the delay in capturing the financial requirements of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Population Commission (NPC) in the 2022 budget may be responsible for the failure of the senate to pass the budget yesterday.

Speaking in an interview with journalists, the Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau, said the commission has met with officials from INEC and NPC to discuss the problem of insufficient funds in the budget of the government agencies.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Wife, Ministers To Depart Abuja For Turkey

“We had a very robust and frank interaction with INEC and the National Population Commission in respect to the complaints we have had in different quarters about the inefficiency of funds that have been provided for them in the 2022 appropriation bill,” Senator Barau said.

“Because of the stance of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that these two institutions need to be properly catered for in terms of their funding, we all know the importance of election in this country and indeed the entire world, it is the foundation of every democracy.

“I can’t tell you whether it will be passed this week or not because we are still working on it, you can make your calculations.”

Based on Barau’s comments, the Senate adjourned the plenary till December 21, 2021, thereby foreclosing its earlier projection to pass the budget this week.

This comes as the NPC proposed N400 billion for the proposed conduct of next year’s national census.

NPC Chairman, Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra, gave the figure while speaking with the committee.

The committee said submission received from the NPC would be added to the one expected from INEC next Monday to be part of the report to be laid before the Senate for consideration and passage next week.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 7 presented the 2022 Appropriation Bill for an aggregate of N16.39 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly.

The President described the 2022 Appropriation as the Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability.

National Assembly To Pass Proposed 2022 Budget This Week, Says Lawan

 

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, says the National Assembly will pass the proposed 2022 budget before the end of the legislative week.

He disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while giving a lecture at the maiden Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture Series organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).

Lawan said the current National Assembly has made it a practice for the budget to be presented and passed before the end of December yearly, to ensure that its implementation commences in January.

Delivering a lecture titled ‘The Legislature, Legislative Mandate and the Public – The Reality and The Public Perception’, he used the opportunity to clear the air around what he described as misconceptions about the allowances of members of the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: What Buhari Said During The 2021 Budget Presentation (Full Speech)

According to the lawmaker, the percentage of the National Assembly budget in the federal budget ranged between 1.44 per cent in 2019 to 0.82 per cent in 2021.

For him, the National Assembly has been grossly underfunded in the last four years. He revealed that the total salary of a member of the Senate was about N1.5 million and that of the House of Representatives was about N1.3 million.

 

The lawmaker added that the average office running cost for a senator was about N13 million while that of a member of the House of Representatives was N8 million.

Other areas where he gave clarifications included perception of corruption, constituency projects, purchase of operational vehicles for lawmakers, and the insinuations that the legislature was a rubber stamp.

This comes two months after President Muhammadu Buhari presented a total 2022 budget of N16.39 trillion tagged ‘Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability” to the lawmakers.

In his presentation to a joint session of lawmakers on October 7, the President said the budget would focus on diversifying the economy, with robust MSME growth; investing in critical infrastructure; strengthening security and ensuring good governance; enabling a vibrant, educated and healthy populace; reducing poverty; and minimising regional, economic and social disparities.

He had given an assurance that defence and internal security would continue to be the top priority of his administration.