Senate debates 2022 appropriation bill



The Senate commenced debate on the 2022 appropriation bill presented to the National Assembly last by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over plenary, said the debate on the bill which is slated for two days continues on Wednesday, October 13,

2021.  

President Buhari had on Thursday last presented a N16.39 trillion budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year. 

He said out of the total expenditure of N16.39 trillion Naira proposed for the Federal Government in 2022, N768.28 is for Statutory Transfers; N6.83 trillion is for Non-debt Recurrent Costs; and N4.11 trillion for Personnel Costs.

Others are N577.0 billion for Pensions, Gratuities and Retirees’ Benefits; N792.39 for Overheads; N5.35 trillion for Expenditure, including component of statutory transfers; N3.61 trillion for Debt Service; and N292.71 billion Naira for Sinking Fund to retire certain maturing bonds.

 

He explained the expected total fiscal operations of the Federal Government would result in a deficit of 6.26 trillion Naira, an amount representing 3.39 percent of estimated GDP.

According to him, the figure is slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007. 

Senators who took turns to contribute to the ongoing debate on the 2022 appropriation bill were each allowed to speak for 3 minutes. 

Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the 2022 Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability places Defence and Internal Security as top priority signaling the administration’s firm commitment to the security of life, property and public safety, nationwide. 

According to him, the fiscal operations of the federal government which would result in a deficit of 6.26 trillion naira be tackled either by increasing taxes, cutting expenditure and borrowing. 

He, however, explained increase in taxes was not feasible because the majority of Nigeria’s population are up of the poor. 

The lawmaker observed it is more dangerous to sack workers in bid to cut down on government spending, warning doing so would expose the country to political and economic turbulence. 

He added the country’s last option of borrowing would allow the nation survive the challenges and stabilize the polity and economy. 

“In the 2022 budget, deficit spending has become necessary in order to ensure the does not relapse into another recession after strongly coming out of the last one with a respectable 5 percent growth in the second quarter of this year.

“Deficit financing is mainly to fund expenditure. This new borrowings totaling N5.01 trillion naira, N90.73 billion naira from Privatization Oroceeds and 1.16 trillion naira drawdowns on loans secure for specific development projects. 

“Although there is a growing concern over this administration’s resort to borrowing to finance fiscal gaps, let me state here the debt level of the federal government is within sustainable limits”, Senator Yahaya said.

Other Senators who spoke during the debate include the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe ( South), Aliero Adamu (Kebbi Central), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto North), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central), and Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South).