Buhari seeks Senate’s approval for virement of N276.8bn to fund 2021 budget expenditures



 The Senate on Tuesday received a formal request from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking the Senate’s approval for the virement of N276,757,232,395 billion to fund expenditures in the 2021 budget.

The request which was contained in a letter dated Dec. 16 was read by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan during plenary.

According to Buhari, the sum would be sourced from the N365 billion Service Wide Vote for Upscaling of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

The letter titled, “2021 Appropriation Act: Request for Virement to Fund Critical Expenditure” reads:

“The Senate may wish to recall that I signed the 2021 Appropriation on Dec. 31, 2020, for a total expenditure of N13.588 trillion and a Supplementary Appropriation to cater for critical needs for the Security and Health Sector in the sum of N983 billion on July 26.

“You may also recall that during the signing of the 2021 Appropriation Act, I mentioned that, where necessary, I will revert to the National Assembly with a request for amendment, virement or other appropriate adjustments to ensure that the core objectives of the Budget are accomplished.

“Accordingly, the 2021 Budget implementation is faced with challenges that will require additional funding for some critical and urgent line items in the Budget.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to forward the comprehensive Virement Proposal for the consideration and approval of the National Assembly.

“The details of the expenditures proposed for the virement are attached herewith as schedule 1 while Schedule 2 shows the sources of the funds to be vired for the items in Schedule 1.

“In the light of the above, I implore the Senate to urgently consider the virement proposals to support our efforts to improve the well-being of our citizens.”

A breakdown of the virement request detailed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning showed that N199, 129, 053, 400 was for payment of local contractors debts, public service wage adjustment for MDAs, SDGs Projects 3 and Group Life Assurance for all MDAs.

In addition, N4, 500, 821, 569 is for Federal Ministry of Education, N2, 335, 167, 265 for Nigeria Airforce; N4, 617, 811, 857 for Ministry of Defence, N25 billion for National Assembly in settling minimum wage arreas of National Assembly Staff and Intervention to settle outstanding liabilities owed local contractors.

Others are N20, 038, 920, 773 for Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA); N762, 678, 972 for Nigeria Correctional Services; N592 million for Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) as financial assistance for the execution of 2021 End of Year Special Patrol Operation.

Also, the sum of N19, 780, 778, 558 was funding for Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital, Zaria.

“Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, University of Benin Teaching Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital.”

Meanwhile, the Senate on Tuesday, passed a bill to amend the 2021 Appropriations Act.

The bill sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, scaled through second and third reading after it was considered.

The 2021 Appropriations Act (Amendment) bill seeks to extend the implementation of the Capital aspect of the Appropriation Act 2021 from Dec. 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022.(NAN)