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7 issues Buhari dislikes about 2022 budget he just append his signature

Buhari is worried the budget won’t serve his administration’s goals in 2022.

President Muhammadu Buhari is not a big fan of the document he just signed for a lot of reasons [Bernard Menigault/Alamy]

7 issues Buhari dislikes about 2022 budget he just append his signature

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2022 Appropriation Bill into law on Friday, December 31, 2021, but he’s not too happy with a lot of its content.

The president had presented an N16.4 trillion budget to the National Assembly in October, but it was increased to N17.13 million when federal lawmakers finally passed it this month.

Buhari said after Friday’s signing that he has strong reservations about the ‘worrisome changes’ made by the National Assembly, but that he had to sign to keep Nigeria in the January to December fiscal year cycle.

The 79-year-old said his initial proposal was designed to complete his administration’s critical agenda projects, and improve the general living conditions of Nigerians.

He complained that the changes made by the National Assembly puts his vision in jeopardy.

Below are his biggest concerns:

Lack of justification

The National Assembly increased projected FGN Independent Revenue by N400 billion but has yet to provide a justification to the Executive.

Reductions

The National Assembly reduced the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Bonds by N22 billion without any explanation; and reduced the provisions for the Non-Regular Allowances of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Navy by N15 billion and N5 billion respectively.

“This is particularly worrisome because personnel cost provisions are based on agencies’ nominal roll and approved salaries/allowances,” Buhari said on Friday.

Increased overhead budgets

The president said there was an increase of N21.72 billion in the overhead budgets of some MDAs, while the sum of N1.96 billion was cut from the provision for some MDAs without apparent justification.

There was also an increase in the provision for capital spending (excluding capital share in Statutory Transfer) by a net amount of N575.63 billion, from N4.89 trillion to N5.47 trillion.

More reductions

Buhari also complained about reductions in provisions for some critical projects, including N12.6 billion in the Ministry of Transport’s budget for the ongoing Rail Modernisation projects; N25.8 billion from Power Sector Reform Programme under the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; N14.5 billion from several projects of the Ministry of Agriculture, and introducing over 1,500 new projects into the budgets of the Ministry and its agencies.

New projects

Federal lawmakers also included new provisions totaling N36.59 billion for the National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote.

Buhari said this negates the principles of separation of powers and financial autonomy of the legislative arm of government.

“The changes to the original Executive proposal are in the form of new insertions, outright removals, reductions and/or increases in the amounts allocated to projects,” he said.

Even more reductions

The president said provisions made for as many as 10,733 projects were reduced while 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly.

The lawmakers also reduced the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ’empowerment’ projects.

He complained, “The cuts in the provisions for several of these projects by the National Assembly may render the projects unimplementable or set back their completion, especially some of this Administration’s strategic capital projects.

“Most of the projects inserted relate to matters that are basically the responsibilities of State and Local Governments and do not appear to have been properly conceptualized, designed, and cost.

“Many more projects have been added to the budgets of some MDAs with no consideration for the institutional capacity to execute the additional projects and/or for the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.”

Rejection of request

Buhari also said he was surprised that despite the National Assembly increasing projected revenue by N609.27 billion, the additional Executive request of N186.53 billion for critical expenditure items could not be accommodated without increasing the deficit, while the sum of N550.59 billion from the projected incremental revenues was allocated at the discretion of National Assembly.

Way forward

President Buhari said on Friday that he plans to send an amendment bill to the National Assembly when lawmakers resume legislative duties in January.

He plans to send a request for amendment and/or virement to ensure that critical ongoing projects that are cardinal to his administration, and those nearing completion, don’t suffer a setback due to reduced funding.

Updated: December 31, 2021 — 12:27 pm

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