…budget deficit rises to N8.17trn

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday approved and passed a supplementary budget of N819 billion for 2022 as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari, raising the 2022 budget deficit to N8.17 trillion.

The approval and passage came after the Senate considered the report of its Committee on Appropriations, which resolved that the additional budget be allocated among four ministries – Agriculture, Works, FCTA, and Water Resources.

According to the committee’s resolution, Works should get N704 billion of the approved sum; Agriculture N69 billion; FCTA N30 billion; and Water Resources N15.5 billion.

Barau Jibril (APC, Kano), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, who presented the report, said the committee considered an additional budget for infrastructural development necessary after it examined the impacts of floods across the country in 2022.

This is coming a week after Buhari, in a letter to the National Assembly, requested the lawmakers to approve an additional budget of N819.54, saying it would form the capital expenditure component of the 2022 budget.

Buhari said in the letter, read by Senate President Ahmad Lawan, that the request became necessary as a result of the devastation caused by floods on farmlands as well as road infrastructure across the 36 states, putting food security and movement of goods and services at risk.

Buhari also informed the lawmakers that the supplementary budget would be financed “through additional domestic borrowings.”

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With the approval of the supplementary budget by the Senate, Nigeria’s 2022 budget deficit has risen to N8.17 trillion, the deficit-to-GDP ratio to 4.43 per cent, and domestic borrowing in 2022 to N3.33 trillion.

The Senate also extended the lifespan of the N18.12trn 2022 budget to March 31, 2023 in order to enable the implementation of the projects listed in the supplementary budget.

This was also in line with Buhari’s request for an extension of time, given that, according to the provisions of clause 12 of the Appropriation Act and section 318 of the 1999 constitution, the budget should end on 31 December 2022, which is 12 calendar months after implementation started on 1 January 2022.

“I write to request your consideration for an amendment into the 2022 Acts expression clause 12, as passed and assented to,” Buhari had said in the letter to the Senate last week.

“The 2022 Appropriation Acts states, in line with the provisions of section 318 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this Bill expires after 12 months starting from January, 1 to the December, 31, 2022, once assented to.

“The proposed 2022 appropriation supplementary budget submitted to National Assembly for consideration as well as recent 2022 capital releases to the MDAs are likely to be utilised before December 31st, 2022 due to the late release of the funds which will lapse if the capital implementation is not extended beyond December, 2022,” he had requested.