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Buhari not happy with NASS alterations in 2022 budget

Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed disappointment in alterations made in the 2022 Appropriations Bill by the lawmakers, after he signed it into law on Friday.

Buhari made these concerns known through a statement issued and signed by his spokesman, Garba Shehu which expressed reservations on some changes to the budget which he described as ‘‘worrisome’’.

According to Ripples Nigeria earlier report, the president signed the budget at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.

The signing of the budget came two weeks after the Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill presented by the president a few weeks earlier.

The lawmakers had approved a total expenditure of N17.1 trillion against the N16.3 trillion proposed by the president in October. Over N700 billion was added to the proposed appropriation.

The National Assembly also increased the Oil Benchmark Price from $57 to $62.

In 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.

However, in his statement, Buhari noted that some of the changes were the increase in the federal government’s projected ‘Independent Revenue’ by N400 billion.

According to him, a justification for this is yet to be provided.

The president also complained that the National Assembly reduced 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.’’

Buhari also queried the lawmakers for including new provisions totalling N36.59 billion for National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote.

This negates the principles of separation of powers and financial autonomy of the legislative arm of government, the President disclosed.

‘‘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.

‘‘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 conceptualised, designed and costed. And 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.