The 2022 budget proposal has passed the second reading in the senate on Wednesday.
The passage through the second reading followed a debate by the federal lawmakers on the budget.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday, October 7, presented an N16.39 trillion budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year.
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.
Others are N577.0 billion for pensions, gratuities, and retirees’ benefits; N792.39 for overheads; N5.35 trillion for capital expenditure, including a capital component of statutory transfers; N3.61 trillion for debt service; and N292.71 billion for sinking fund to retire certain maturing bonds.
More than half of the senators made their contributions on the floor of the Senate during the debate.
Some lawmakers commended the federal government for 100 per cent implementation of the 2020 budget and about 60 per cent implementation of the 2021 budget.
Others also used the opportunity to call for infrastructural developments in their constituencies.
For the representative of Kogi West, Mr. Smart Adeyemi if foreign loans are deployed for infrastructure development, wealth, and job creation then the borrowing should not be regarded as alarming. He also wants the government to invest more in solid minerals.
A few senators faulted the projections of the budget, especially the federal government’s plans to borrow to fund the budget while others commended the executive for its plan on economic recovery.
Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers) debunked the argument that Nigeria is under borrowing.
She said Nigerian is one of the African countries with the highest debt to borrowing ratio.
Legislators like Messrs Matthew Urhogide (PDP Edo) and Christopher Ekpeyong (PDP Akwa Ibom) want the parliament to scrutinize the recurrent expenditure of different ministries, departments and agencies.
They also sought for more information from MDA’s on the use of service-wide votes in the budget which they say is mostly hidden.
At the end of the debate, the senate president, Mr. Ahmad Lawan, commended President Buhari for submitting the budget on time.
He said the national assembly was ready to work and pass the budget before the end of December.
He agreed with senators who spoke on the need for more revenue generation and remittance from the MDAs.
The senate president said the books of the MDAs will be monitored closely to ensure more revenue generation and remittance from them.
On borrowing, he said it is not bad “as long as we ensure that what is borrowed is used capitally for infrastructural development.”