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Senate begins debates on 2022 Appropriations Bill

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Senate begins debates on 2022 Appropriations Bill

The Senate Chamber

Senate has commenced debate on the N16.39trillion budget proposal for 2022 fiscal year presented to the National Assembly last week by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said during plenary on Tuesday that the debate on the Appropriations Bill would continue and ends today (Wednesday) with senators given three minutes each for their contributions.

Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, the Senate Leader, Dr. 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 can be tackled either by increasing taxes, cutting expenditure and borrowing.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“In the 2022 budget, deficit spending has become necessary in order to ensure that the economy 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 capital expenditure. This new borrowings totaling N5.01 trillion, N90.73 billion from privatization proceeds and N1.16 trillion 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 that the debt level of the federal government is still within sustainable limits”, Senator Abdullahi said.

 

President Buhari had while presenting the budget proposals to the joint session of the National Assembly, said out of the total expenditure of N16.39 trillion 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 capital expenditure, including capital component of statutory transfers; N3.61 trillion for debt service; and N292.71 billion for Sinking Fund to retire certain maturing bonds.

 

He explained that the expected total fiscal operations of the Federal Government would result in a deficit of N6.26 trillion, an amount representing 3.39 percent of estimated GDP.

 

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

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