A report laid down on the floor by Murktar Betera, chairman, appropriation committee of the House of Representatives, received a unanimous adoption during plenary in Abuja and signalled the passage of the 2022 budget of N17.13 trillion containing an increase of almost N735 billion from the initially proposed N16.391 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The House of Representatives also pegged the oil benchmark at $62 per barrel as against the $52 proposed by the executive, while the exchange rate was retained at N410.15 per dollar. They explained that the increase in the oil benchmark price for the budget was to reflect the current values in the international market.
The house stated that provision was made for more funds to critical sectors for the purpose of execution of their core mandate, adding that the additional revenue increase would be allocated to the agencies that came forward with additional financial reports not provided for in the budget.
According to the house, agencies with additional financial reports include the Ministry of Works and Housing, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 general elections. Others are Defence, National Population Commission for the 2022 Population Census, Agriculture and Rural Development, National Security Adviser, National Assembly, among others.
Furthermore, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, said the passage of the 2022 budget was in keeping with the new tradition of operating an annual national budget from January to December. He also lauded the chairmen of committees of the house and all the members who worked hard to ensure that the budget was passed in time to maintain the record it had set.
“In the 9th National Assembly, we have, with each budget cycle, sought to improve the appropriations process to ensure more effective and efficient allocation and use of our national resources. A recurring challenge is how best to ensure that the ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government adhere strictly to the letter of the appropriation law,” he said.
Elsewhere, President Muhammadu Buhari has transmitted a letter to the House of Representatives, requesting N277 billion for virement to fund critical expenditures which he urged the house to urgently consider. The virement proposal is to support the government effort at improving the wellbeing of the citizenry.
Buhari listed the agencies to benefit to include, Nigeria Air force, Nigeria Correctional Service, Federal Road Safety Commission, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, National Assembly, among others.