Remove N887bn Inserted Projects From 2022 Budget, Buhari Tells National Assembly
President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly for an amendment to the 2022 Appropriations Act, passed and assented to last December.
The request was contained in separate letters addressed to Senate President Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and read at the commencement of plenary Tuesday.
President Buhari, in the letter, urged the lawmakers to roll back some of the N888 billion of projects they earlier inserted in the budget to accommodate the amendments.
He also said 139 out of the 254 projects in the 2022 budget totalling N13.2bn had been identified for deletion.
He noted that the capital projects were replicated in the 2022 fiscal document.
Buhari also requested that an additional provision for N2.557 trillion be appropriated to fund the petrol subsidy in the 2022 budget to fully provide for PMS subsidy.
Buhari had while assenting to the appropriations bill last year, expressed reservations on the ‘‘worrisome changes’’ made by the National Assembly to the 2022 budget.
In amending the Appropriations Act, the president asked the legislators to transfer the National Assembly’s expenditures totalling N16.59bn in the Service Wide Vote to the National Assembly Statutory Transfer provision.
“You will agree with me that the inclusion of National Assembly’s expenditures in the Executive Budget negates the principles of Separation of Powers and Financial Autonomy of the Legislature,” the president said.
“It is also absolutely necessary to remove all capital projects that are replicated in the 2022 Appropriation Act; 139 out of the 254 such projects totalling N13.2bn have been identified to be deleted from the budget,” he said.
Buhari also said the amendment should provide for capital expenditures in the sum of N106bn; and N43bn for recurrent expenditures.
He also stressed the need to reinstate four capital projects totalling N1.4bn in the Executive proposal for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, and N22bn cut from the provision for the Sinking Fund to retire mature loans needed to meet government’s obligations under already issued bonds.
Buhari said there were several other projects that have been included by the National Assembly in the budgets of agencies that are outside their mandate areas.
He, therefore, requested the National Assembly to make the amendments without increasing the budget deficit.
He told the lawmakers that he had directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to work with their relevant committees to comprehensively identify and realign all such misplaced projects.