House of Reps passes 2021 supplementary budget, raise estimates by N86bn

The House of Representatives has approved the Federal Government’s 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, raising the estimates from the proposed N895, 842, 465, 917 to N982, 729, 695, 343.

The House Committee on Appropriations raised the amount by N86, 887, 229, 426 in its report laid earlier on Tuesday.

The House of Reps on Wednesday considered the recommendation as a Committee of Supply and unanimously adopted the report in plenary.

The cover letter on the bill presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari had read in part, “The supplementary budget request is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917.

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

“The balance of N37.93bn required for COVID-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditure totalling N41.6bn and N48.2bn recurrent components of defence and security will be funded by borrowing N135bn from some special reserve levy accounts.

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

However, the House Committee on Appropriations has recommended a total sum of N982, 729, 695, 343, of which N123, 332, 174, 164 is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure while the sum of N859, 397, 521, 179 is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending December 31, 2021.

Çhairman of the committee, Muktar Betara, while explaining the increment, said, “The proposal submitted by Mr President was in the sum of N895, 842, 465, 917, with the objective of making funds available for the military, COVID 19 Program and additional funds for Public service wage adjustment.

“The committee engaged with relevant parties such as the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Budget Office of the Federation and the leadership of the relevant standing committees.

“The committee made observations as highlighted in our report and took due notice of the proposal, particularly the submission by the Ministry of Defence that their budget request is the minimum requirement to secure the country and to address the huge security challenges in the country.

“In processing this supplementary bill, the committee equally took careful note and considered all the headings such as the COVID-19 program generally, capital and recurrent heads, including revenue and funding sources.”

Betara added, “The House Committee on Appropriations, working with its Senate counterpart, has worked thoroughly and tirelessly through the supplementary budget and has recommended a harmonised position, particularly for an upward review of the grossly underfunded security agencies.

“They Include Nigerian Navy, Ministry of Police Affairs, Defence Intelligence Agency, Department of State Security, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”

Meanwhile, the House stepped down consideration of the report of its Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management chaired by Ahmed Safana.

The consideration had been listed on the day’s order paper, with Safana expected to pray the House to approve Buhari’s request for the implementation of the new external borrowing of N2.343tn (about $6.183bn) in the 2021 Appropriation Act through the issuance of Eurobond in the international capital market.

However, the House also passed a statutory budget with estimates totalling N74,773,601,916.30 for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund in 2021.

This was sequel to the consideration and adoption of the report by the House Committee on Police Affairs chaired by Bello Kumo.

Out of the N74, 773, 601, 916.30, N988, 279, 006.05 is for Personnel Cost, N10, 027, 610, 310.25 is for Overhead Expenditure, N11, 015, 889, 316.30 is for Total Recurrent and N63, 757, 712, 600 is Capital Expenditure for the Year 2021.

About Ozurumba Emmanuel Jnr.

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