Buhari

…why we increased police budget by N182-Betara, Appropriation C’mte Chair

… Appropriation Act now N17.319trn

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

House of Representatives, Thursday, approved the N4 trillion for fuel subsidy. This was contained in the revised 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It will be recalled that Buhari had last week written to the House pointing out that the deficit in the 2022 Appropriation Act has risen by N965.42billion, to N7.35 trillion.

To bridge the gap, the President said that the government may resort to borrowing some funds.

According to the President, new developments in the global economy and in the domestic economy were responsible for the revision of the 2022 Fiscal Framework on which the 2022 budget was based.

Considering the report by its Committee on Finance presented by the Chairman Rules and Business Hon. Abubakar Fulata on behalf of Chairman Finance, Hon. James Faleke who was absent at the plenary, the House however amended the budget and framework and caused an increase in the projected oil price benchmark by $11 per barrel, from $62 per barrel to $73 per barrel; a reduction in the projected oil production volume by 283,000 barrels per day, from 1.883 million barrels per day to 1.600 million barrels per day.

The House also made adjustments which included an increase in the estimated provision for Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy for 2022 by N442.72 billion from N3.557 trillion to N4 trillion, and as well approved the Fiscal Deficit of N7.35 trillion.

Other adjustments were a N200 billion cut in the provision for federally-funded upstream projects being implemented, from N352.80 billion to N152.80 billion; an increase in the projection for Federal Government independent revenue by N400 billion; and an additional provision of N182.45 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigeria Police Force.

The same was also made to the domestic debt service provision of N76.13 billion, and net reductions in Statutory Transfers by N66.07 billion, as follows: Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), by N13.46 billion from N102.78 billion to N89.32 billion; North East Development Commission (NEDC), by N6.30 billion from N48.08 billion to N41.78 billion; Universal Basic Education (UBEC), by N23.16 billion from N112.29 billion to N89.13 billion; Basic Health Care Fund, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion; and NASENI, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion.

Meanwhile, the House also rescinded its decision on the Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund Bill as passed and re-committed it to the Committee of the Whole for reconsideration.

Briefing Journalists after the plenary, the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Muktar Betera said that only difference between the Appropriation Act and the amendment bill was the increment in the police budget which he said was a pledge made by the President to increase the salaries of the officers and men of the Force.

According to him, the police budget was increased by N182 billion bringing the total budget size to N17.319,704, 091.019.

He said: “The President and Commander in Chief brought an amendment to the 2022 Appropriation Act which the House passed today. We passed the budget with an increment to police salaries. We increased the police budget by N 182billion. That is the only difference between the Appropriation Act and the amendment bill. It’s just the police increment. And in the President’s request letter, he requested the House to reduce our input that was sent to him in the 2022 Appropriation Act where acted and did some adjustments to the budget.

“Actually, subsidy issue reflects in the MTEF. We have to raise the benchmark with additional 11 dollars to add up the subsidy request by the President.

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“The budget now is N17.319,704, 091.19.”

The lawmaker also gave a hints of what may have caused the adjustments.

He also spoke on the budget of the Army, saying that the bulk of the money in the budget is on salaries as against the capital budget needed to function effectively.

“Some Committee, I think, exceeded what is supposed to work on the budget. If they bring budget to you, it is not what is given to you that you pass. There are line items that are not supposed to be part of that budget. So, some Committees did some adjustments to it where the executive requested that those line items are important to them. So, they want us to return it and some of them we looked at it. If it’s genuine, we return. Those that are genuine, we refused to return.

“When people talk that monies are given to army and army don’t do what is expected. Eighty percent of Army budget is salaries. Army’s overhead is just twenty something billion. Army capital is thirty seven billion and you see army’s salary is four hundred and something billion. So, when you look at the budget, it will look like the army has money but it’s salary. So, it’s the same thing now. It looks like police salary will go up when you look at it, it’s recurrent, salary”, he said.

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