The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed the 2022 budget of N17.126trillion against the N16.391trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is as President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, wrote the Senate seeking approval for the virement of N276,757,232,395 to fund expenditures in the 2021 budget.
This followed a unanimous adoption of a report laid on the floor of the House during plenary in Abuja by the Chairman, Appropriation Committee, Rep. Murktar Betera.
The N17.1trillion was against the N16.39trillion that was proposed by the Executive.
The House also increased the oil benchmark to $62 as against the $52 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 market values of the oil barrel 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 the additional revenue increase 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 election.
Others are Defence, National Population Commission for the 2022 Population Census, Agriculture and Rural Development, National Security Adviser, National Assembly, among others.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was put at 4.2per cent, while inflation was left at 13per cent.
Also, 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.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, wrote the Senate seeking approval for the virement of N276,757,232,395 to fund expenditures in the 2021 budget.
The request was conveyed in a letter dated December 16 and read at plenary by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan.
It comes on the day the Senate passed a bill to amend the 2021 Appropriations Act.
The bill sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, scaled through second and third reading after it was considered.
The 2021 Appropriations Act (Amendment) bill seeks to extend the implementation of the Capital aspect of the Appropriation Act 2021 from December 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
According to Buhari, the N276billion being requested will be sourced from the N365billion Service Wide Vote for Upscaling of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
The letter titled, “2021 Appropriation Act: Request for Virement to Fund Critical Expenditure” reads: “The Senate may wish to recall that I signed the 2021 Appropriation on December 31, 2020, for a total expenditure of N13.588trillion and a Supplementary Appropriation to cater for critical needs for the Security and Health Sector in the sum of N983billion on July 26.
“You may also recall that during the signing of the 2021 Appropriation Act, I mentioned that, where necessary, I will revert to the National Assembly with a request for amendment, virement or other appropriate adjustments to ensure that the core objectives of the budget are accomplished.
“Accordingly, the 2021 Budget implementation is faced with challenges that will require additional funding for some critical and urgent line items in the budget.
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to forward the comprehensive Virement Proposal for the consideration and approval of the National Assembly.
“The details of the expenditures proposed for the virement are attached herewith as Schedule 1 while Schedule 2 shows the sources of the funds to be vired for the items in Schedule 1.
“In the light of the above, I implore the Senate to urgently consider the virement proposals to support our efforts to improve the well-being of our citizens.”
A breakdown of the virement request detailed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning shows, “Federal Ministry of Finance: N199, 129, 053, 400 for payment of local contractors’ debts, public service wage adjustment for MDAs, SDGs Projects 3 and Group Life Assurance for all MDAs.
“Federal Ministry of Education: N4, 500, 821, 569; Nigerian Air Force: N2, 335, 167, 265; Ministry of Defence: N4, 617, 811, 857; National Assembly: N25billion for settling minimum wage arrears of National Assembly Staff and Intervention to settle outstanding liabilities owed local contractors; Federal Road Maintenance Agency: N20, 038, 920, 773; Nigerian Correctional Service: N762, 678, 972; Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC): N592million as financial assistance for the execution of 2021 End of Year Special Patrol Operation.
“N19, 780, 778, 558 for funding for Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, University of Benin Teaching Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital.”
Nigeria To Observe Low Key Independence Day Anniversary -FG
Unlike those before it, Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day observance will not feature a ceremony at the Eagle Square, Abuja, but will be held “low-key,” the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, has disclosed.
Akume revealed this to State House Correspondents after he emerged from a closed-door meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said October 1 would be “a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people and the journey forward.”
The former Minister of Special Duties, who was reluctant to reveal details of the issues discussed, said it bordered on plans for the Independence Day.
“Independence is a historic event for any country and we Nigerians are no exemptions. c
“We are fully prepared for celebrations and for obvious reasons, it is going to be low-key and we are wishing Nigerians the best of luck and I want to assure them that better days are coming and pretty soon too,” he noted. c
On the modalities of this year’s edition, Akume said, “This is going to be low key; we are not going on fantastic jamboree at the Eagle Square and other locations.
“It’s a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people. This journey is being charted by the captain of the ship.”
On what the government would do concerning the Labour Unions’ 21-day ultimatum that ended yesterday, he said, “Labour leaders are very patriotic Nigerians and we want to believe correctly that nobody will want to cause a strike.
“It’s not in the interest of the workers; it’s not in the interest of anybody because this government is very determined to ensure a good standard of living for Nigerians and to create prosperity for all.
“It’s not something that can be done overnight. This government came into being on May 29 and we have a tenure of four years. So, it will be inappropriate for us to begin to judge based on the few months we have spent in the office.”
The organised labour had on September 1 issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over the delay in sharing palliatives, saying it might be compelled to declare an indefinite labour action if its demands were not met.
It said all is set for a total shutdown of the economy, which would start at the expiration of the ultimatum on Friday.
Among other demands, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress are asking for wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances for the public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.
Though the Federal Government committed to restructuring the framework for engagement with organised labour on palliatives, the eight-week timeframe set for the conclusion of the process expired in August with no action.
Work Begins On Eleme-Onne Road As FG Releases N33bn
Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, has said that the Federal Government has committed N33billion to a giant construction company, RCC, to commence work on the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road in Rivers State.
Umahi, revealed this information during his inspection of the project and various other Federal Government initiatives within the state, yesterday.
Speaking from the Eleme-Onne road construction site, Umahi pointed out that President Bola Tinubu had tasked him with a working visit to evaluate the ongoing work.
He pointed out that this project gained significance after the president’s discussions with Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike.
“This road from Eleme to Onne Port, the Rivers State people led by Governor Siminalayi Fubara and former governor Nyesom Wike led delegation to come and see the president.
“The president directed that I should immediately come here and ensure that work has started.
“The President has released N33billion for this project to RCC for them to start,” he said.
Justice Mary Odili Institute Trains Magistrates In Rivers
The Justice Mary Odili Institute has organised a training programme for the newly appointed magistrates in the Rivers State Judiciary for effective service delivery and enhanced performance.
The Institute was established by the State government in conjunction with the state Judiciary for the training and capacity-building of Judiciary workers across the state.
Speaking while declaring open the two-day capacity-building workshop /training with the theme “The Magistrates: Navigating The Path Of Justice,”the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi charged the newly appointed magistrates of Rivers State Judiciary to brace up to the challenges of their responsibilities and ensure that justice was served for all irrespective of their societal status .
He urged them to abide by the principles and doctrines of impartiality in law, stressing that respect for the law forms the bedrock on which the judicial system stands.
He stressed on the importance of training and capacity-building in job performance and urged them to take the two-day training seriously in order to deliver on their mandates.
Amadi described the roles performed by the magistrates in the administration of justice as pivotal and urged them to remain resolute in the discharge of their duties.
The CJ urged them to be committed to justice delivery and assured them that the newly built Magistrates Court would be put to use by next month.
The number one State Judicial officer further expressed optimism that the workshop would expose the newly appointed magistrates to divers perspectives and innovative approaches that would enhance their job delivery .
Earlier in her opening speech, the Administrator of Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute, Justice Anwuri Ken-Chikwere emphasized the need to regularly train and empower the new magistrates on the rules of legal practice, even as she encouraged them to be committed to their job.
By: Akujobi Amadi
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