The Senate on Wednesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request of N819.54bn domestic loan meant to fix the infrastructure destroyed by floods across the country.
Buhari had through an executive communication last week, sought the approval of the National Assembly for N819.54bn supplementary budget.
The request, according to the President, would from part of the 2022 Appropriation Act.
Buhari in the letter read by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the supplementary appropriation request was meant for the capital expenditure component of the 2022 budget.
The approval of the Senate has increased the 2022 Budget deficit to N8.17trn, and deficit-to-GDP ratio of 4.43 per cent.
It has also pushed the country’s domestic debt to over N22 trn.
The new borrowing also increased the Federal Government’s domestic borrowing in 2022 to N3.33trn.
To enhance the implementation of the projects listed in the supplementary bill, the Senate extended the life span period of the N18.12trn 2022 budget to March 31, 2023 .
The budget in line with provisions of clause 12 of the Appropriation Act and section 318 of the 1999 constitution which stipulate 12 calendar months for implementation of budget in any fiscal year , supposed to have ended on December 31, 2022 , having started on January 1, 2022.
But President Muhammadu Buhari in a letter read in plenary last week Wednesday , sought the amendment on the Act for extension of the implementation period .
Buhari in the letter read by President of the Senate , Ahmad Lawan , said : ” I write to request your consideration for an amendment into the 2022 Acts expression clause 12,as passed and assented to.
“The 2022 Appropriation Acts states, in line with the provisions of section 318 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this Bill expires after 12 months starting from January, 1 to the December, 31, 2022, one assented to.
“The proposed 2022 appropriation supplementary budget submitted to National Assembly for consideration as well as recent 2022 capital releases to MDAs are likely to be utilized before December, 31st, 2022 due to the late release of the funds which will lapse if the capital implementation is not extended beyond December, 2022.
“In the light of the above, the National Assembly is requested to amend the 2022 Acts expression clause to reflect March 31, 2023 for the capital components only.”
The Senate accordingly gave the request expeditious consideration and passage by making it pass the required legislative processes within 30 mins .
President of the Senate in his remarks , said extension of the implementation period of the 2022 budget to March 31, 2023 , will provide the required time for implementation of the N819.5bn 2022 supplementary budget raised by the President .
The sum of N708bn was approved for the Ministry of Works and Housing; N69bn for the Ministry of Agriculture; N30bn for the Federal Capital Territory and N15bn for the Ministry of Water Resources.
However, Senator Muhammad Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South ) , during brief debate on the request , called for caution in view of shortness of available time
He said, “Mr President, my worry on this extension and supplementary budget is the reality of what we are doing .
“N819.5bn 2022 supplementary budget targeted for implementation during the extended period , should have been merged with the 2023’budget which will also be passed today.
“Is not possible for the N819.5billion supplementary budget implemented within 90 days from now .Let no deceive ourselves but if the Senate wants to go ahead , so be it “, he said
The Senate however went ahead with passage of extension of implementation period for 2022 budget and approval of the N819.5bn 2022 Supplementary Budget.
The Senate President nevertheless, went ahead to put the approval to vote and he ruled in favour of senators who echoed ‘ayes’ in support of the bill.