The House of Representatives adopted the Federal Government’s 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill on Wednesday, lifting the estimates from N895.84 billion to N982.73 billion.
In its report released earlier on Tuesday, the House Committee on Appropriations increased the sum by N86.89 billion. The House debated the recommendation as a Committee of Supply on Wednesday and unanimously endorsed the report in plenary.
The President, Muhammadu Buhari had written in the cover letter to the National Assembly, “The supplementary budget proposal is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917.”
The House Committee on Appropriations, on the other hand, suggested a total of N982.73 billion, of which N123.33 billion is for recurrent (non-debt) spending and N859.4 billion is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021.
Muktar Betara, chairman of the committee, explained the increase, saying, “The proposal submitted by Mr President was in the sum of N895, 842, 465, 917, to make money available for the military, COVID-19 program, and additional monies for public service salary adjustment.”
The committee engaged with relevant parties such as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Budget Office of the Federation and the leadership of the relevant standing committees.
The committee made observations as highlighted in our report and took due notice of the proposal, particularly the submission by the Ministry of Defence that their budget request is the minimum requirement to secure the country and to address the huge security challenges in the country.
In processing this supplementary bill, the committee equally took careful note and considered all the headings such as the COVID-19 programme generally, capital and recurrent heads, including revenue and funding sources.
Beta added, “The House Committee on Appropriations, working with its Senate counterpart, has worked thoroughly and tirelessly through the supplementary budget and has recommended a harmonised position, particularly for an upward review of the grossly underfunded security agencies”.
“They include Nigerian Navy, Ministry of Police Affairs, Defence Intelligence Agency, Department of State Security, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”
Meanwhile, the House postponed discussion of the report of the Aids, Loans, and Debt Management Committee, chaired by Ahmed Safana.
The item was on the order paper for the day, and Safana is likely to ask the House to support Buhari’s request to adopt a fresh external borrowing of N2.34 trillion (about $6.18 billion) in the 2021 Appropriation Act through the sale of Eurobonds on the international capital market.
The House, on the other hand, passed a legislative budget for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund in 2021, with estimates totalling N74,773,601,916.30.
The report was considered and adopted by the House Committee on Police Affairs, chaired by Bello Kumo.