Senate President Ahmed Lawan said on Tuesday that the National Assembly is reconsidering the president’s proposal to securitize the outstanding balance of the federal government’s ways and means at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
However, he said the legislature will only do so based on adequate information available to the committees involved.
Lawan revealed this shortly after the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.), signed into law the 2023 budget of 21.83 trillion naira along with the 2022 supplementary appropriation bill.
Buhari signed the 2023 transition budget at the Council Chambers in the Presidential Village, Abuja, in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and other members of the Federal Executive Council.
On Buhari’s request to secure Ways and Means forward, Lawan said: “We are already considering it, but let me tell you where the problem is.
“While we try to consider and approve the request, we will insist on getting the correct documents to our committees to make sure that whatever we are advised to do in both chambers is based on information and knowledge and not just passing forms and media without knowing what. What is it.”
Lawan also noted that implementing the 2023 budget would require considerable internal resource mobilization over the next five months.
Therefore, the legislature will review all existing tax breaks and examine the eligibility of all recipients.
This, he said, would be part of efforts to increase income without imposing more taxes on Nigerians.
“Ours is that we focus on the next five months. We still have something worth doing, even though both chambers have done almost everything we consider to be our legislative agenda.
“But Nigeria faces revenue challenges. And this is going to be our focus. This is going to be what the National Assembly, both houses, are going to make sure that we get revenue, find more sources, better sources, stabilize resources and of course look at some of the legislation and some of the waivers and concessions given to see . whether or not they deserve to continue to be implemented in the manner in which they were approved. Or we need to reverse that because we need money in our country.
“But that doesn’t mean we should raise taxes, that will be crazy and cause problems for our citizens. But I believe that as the National Assembly, in the next five months, we must seek to increase the funds available to the government and also ensure that the budget deficit is minimized in the next assembly by the grace of God,” Lawan explained.