The National Assembly on Wednesday increased the 2023 budget proposal from N20.51 trillion to N21.82 trillion and approved it.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, (retired) submitted a budget proposal of N20.51 trillion to parliament on 7 October 2022 with a deficit of N10.782 trillion.

Both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees said the N1.3 trillion increase in the size of the budget was due to additional funds allocated to the National Population Commission ahead of the planned 2023 census, as well as to the N173bn allocated for the Independent National Electoral Committee. Commission, with a view to the 2023 general elections.

The Nigerian army, navy, Nigerian police force, and the ministries of agriculture, health, aviation, and science and technology also got reasonable increases.

The National Assembly also raised the budget’s proposed oil reference price from $70 per barrel to $75 per barrel.

However, the parliament maintained other parameters previously proposed by the president, such as 1.69 million barrels of oil production per day, N435.57 per US dollar; GDP growth rate of 3.75 percent and inflation rate of 17.16 percent.

Making a presentation of the report in the Senate, the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Barau Jibrin (APC Kano North), said that of the size of the budget of N21.827bn, N967.486bn was earmarked for statutory transfers, N8.329tn for non-recurring cost of debt, N5,972 billion for capital expenditures and N6,557 billion for debt service.

Under the statutory transfers of N967.48bn, the Office of the National Assembly has N30.492bn; the Senate obtained N33.267bn; the House of Representatives, N51.994bn; Service Commission of the National Assembly, N10,555bn; legislative assistants, N16,520bn; general services N11.307bn; National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, N7.411bn.

Others are: N30,173bn for dismissal/inauguration of outgoing and incoming legislators of the 9th and 10th Assembly; N10bn for the construction of the NASC building; N2.5bn to complete NILDS headquarters etc.

Outside of the National Assembly, N165bn is earmarked for the National Judicial Council, N119.9bn for the Niger Delta Development Commission and N103bn for Universal Basic Education.

Of the proposed capital expenditures of N5.972tn, the Ministry of Works and Housing has the lion’s vote of N398.275bn, followed by the Ministry of Defense with N285.045bn, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N248.358bi, Ministry of Education, N153.735bn.

Others are the Ministry of Health, N134.909bn, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, N132.572bn; Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, N166 747bn; Office of the National Security Adviser N70.331bn; Presidency, N20.115bn; Ministry of the Interior N45.622bn; Federal Ministry of Water Resources N83.256bn etc.

After the approval of the budget, Senate President Ahmad Lawan urged President Muhammadu Buhari to approve it before the end of the year to maintain the implementation of the January-December budget cycle.

Expanded 2022 budget

Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday approved a supplementary budget of N819.54bn requested by the Buhari regime. .

According to the president, the supplementary budget is intended to help repair infrastructure destroyed by floods throughout the country.

Buhari, through an executive communication last week, sought the approval of the National Assembly for the supplementary budget of N819.54bn.

Consequently, the Senate gave the request expedited consideration and approval by getting it through the required legislative processes within 30 minutes.

In his remarks, Lawan said the extension would provide the necessary time for the implementation of the N819.5bn 2022 supplementary budget raised by the president.

However, Senator Muhammad Ndume (APC Borno Sur), during a brief discussion on the request, said that it was impossible for the supplementary budget to be implemented before March 2023.

In reaction, the Executive Director of the Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr. Muda Yusuf, stated that the extension would not affect procedures but would allow the government to implement capital projects disturbed by the floods.

He said: “I think it is a good decision for the implementation of the budget, especially the capital budget, there are some problems related to flooding, washed out roads, all these things were not foreseen, force majeure.

“Now that the president has submitted the supplemental budget, he needs time to execute those projects for proper implementation due to flooding and infrastructure damage. We wouldn’t lose much if we allowed it to happen.

For his part, a professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sheriffdeen Tella, said that the process is constitutionally correct since it gives more consideration to the budget.

He said: “The extension of the execution of the budget is supported by constitutional provisions to take care of the delay in the approval of the budgets. Such provisions allow for proper consideration of the budget prior to its approval.