As Senate President gives Appropriations Committee next week Tuesday to submit Report

By Henry Umoru

N895.8bn Supplementary Budget scales second reading in Senate

A supplementary Appropriation bill to the tune of N895.842,465,917 billion as a supplementary budget for the 2021 fiscal year Wednesday scaled second reading in the Senate.

After a Supplementary Bill for an Act to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, the total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917 scaled second reading Wednesday, it was referred by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan to the Senator Jibrin Barau, All Progressives Congress, APC, Kano North led Senate Committee on Appropriations for further legislative action to report back on Tuesday and report back at Plenary next week Tuesday.

The resolution of the Senate was sequel to the presentation of the lead debate by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, APC, Kebbi North

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday, requested that the Senate considers and approves the supplementary budget to help fight insecurity and purchase vaccines in tackling COVID- 19 pandemic.

In his lead debate on the general principles of the Bill, Senator Abdullahi said that out of the figure, N173, 445, 506, 664 was for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure while the sum of N722, 396, 959, 253 was for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on December 31, 2021.

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The Senate Leader who noted that the 2021 Supplementary Budget was needed to fund defence, security and health-related expenditure, said, “It is also for treatment of additional 50, 000 patients under the Nigerian Comprehensive Aids Programme in States (NCAPS).

“We propose to fund N45.63 billion of the N83. 56 billion required for the COVID-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans which will be a structured as well as other grants totalling 113.2 million US dollars.

“The balance of N37. 93 billion required for COVID-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditures totalling N41.6 billion and N48.2 billion recurrent component of defence and security will be funded by borrowing N135 billion from some special reserve levy accounts.

“We propose to fund the balance of N722.4 billion for capital expenditure on defense and security and capital supplementation from new borrowings in the absence of any supplementary revenue sources.

“It has become necessary to prepare the 2021 supplementary appropriation bill considering the urgent need to make provision for procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

“The availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the procurement terms was still uncertain as at the time of finalising the 2021 budget, hence, there was no provision in the 2021 Appropriation Act for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.”

In his contribution, Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South said that since the issues in the budget were not controversial, support should be given for the quick passage of the bill.

Also speaking, Sen Kabiru Barkiya, APC-Katsina who decried that the 2020 appropriation for the military was N500 billion, but only N30 billion was earmarked for equipment and little amount for recruitment called for the speedy passage of the bill, said, “With the supplementary budget, I hope that majority of it will be used for military equipment to fight insecurity and also for staff recruitment.”

On his part, Sen Adamu Aliero, APC-Kebbi said: “The country is in severe distress as far as security is concerned. The intervention of the Federal Government is timely. The vaccination of Nigerians is below four per cent.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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