The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed the 2022 Appropriation Act, raising the budget size to N17.126 trillion from the N16.391 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This followed a unanimous adoption of a report laid on the floor of the House during plenary in Abuja by the Chairman, Appropriation Committee, Murktar Betera.
The House also increased the oil benchmark to 62 dollars as against the 52 dollars that was proposed by the executive, while the exchange rate was retained at N410.15
The House added that the increase in oil price was to reflect the current price of crude oil in the international market.
The House stated that provision was made for more funds to critical sectors for purpose of execution of their core mandate.
The House also said that additional increase in expenditure would be allocated to the agencies that came forward with additional financial report which was not provided for in the budget.
This, according to the House, include: 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.
Meanwhile, Buhari has written to the House of Representatives, requesting N277 billion for virement to fund critical expenditures. The President said that this became necessary because the 2021 budget implementation was faced with challenges.
He added that the challenges would require additional funding for some critical and urgent line items in the budget.
He urged the House to urgently consider the virement proposal to support the government effort at improving the well-being of the citizenry.
He listed the agency to benefit from the virement to include; Nigeria Airforce, Nigeria Correctional Service, Federal Road Safety Commission, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, National Assembly among others. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila, 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 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.
Gbajabiamila added that this had always been a subject of grave concern, especially when it must contend with the reality of limited resources amid significant developmental challenges.