Flood Disaster: Buhari Seeks National Assembly’s Approval for N819.5bn Supplementary Budget
•Demands restructuring of N23.7trn CBN’s ways and means advances
Sunday Aborisade and Udora Orizu in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has transmitted to the National Assembly, a supplementary budget totalling N819.5 billion for the 2022 fiscal year.
Buhari’s request was contained in a letter he addressed to the two chambers of the federal parliament, read by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila during their respective plenary sessions.
Buhari said the supplementary budget would be financed through new domestic borrowing.
He said the budget was to complete critical infrastructure, which had become imperative in view of the devastating flood disaster witnessed earlier this year that damaged roads in many parts of the country.
He said the supplementary budget for the 2022 fiscal year was to fix various infrastructure destroyed by flood across the various states in the country.
Buhari added that the supplementary appropriation was purely for the capital expenditure component of the 2022 budget with attendant increase of deficit to N8.17 trillion.
He said the proposed N819.5 billion supplementary budget would be financed by additional domestic borrowings.
Part of the president’s letter read: “The year 2022 has witnessed the worse flood incident in recent history which has caused massive destruction of farm lands at a point already closed to harvest season.
“This may compound the situation of food security and nutrition in the country. The flood has also devastated road infrastructure in across the 36 states and the FCT as well as bridges nationwide that are critical for movement of goods and services.
“The water sector was equally affected by the flood and there is a need to complete some ongoing critical projects that have already achieved about 85 percentage completion.
“The nine critical projects proposed in the sector cuts across water supply, dam projects and irrigation projects nationwide.
” I have approved a supplementary budget of 2022 appropriation of N819.536 billion, all of which are capital expenditure.
“The supplementary will be financed through additional domestic borrowings which will raise the budget deficit for 2022 to N8.17 trillion and deficit to GDP ratio to 4.43 per cent.”
In the red chamber, the President of the Senate forwarded the request to the Committees on Appropriation , Finance , Works , Water Resources and Agriculture for expeditious consideration
Also at yesterday’s plenary, both the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives read another letter from Buhari requesting for the approval of the restructuring of N23.7 trillion “Ways and Means Advances” given the federal government by the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN)
The president in the letter stated that the “Ways and Means” were “advances from the CBN to the federal government for emergency funding of delayed receipt of fiscal deficit.”
Part of the letter titled,” “Restructuring of Ways and Means Advances,” read in part: “The Ways and Means advances by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the federal government has been a funding option to the federal government to cater for short term or emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipt of physical deficit.
“The Ways and Means, balances as at 19th December 2022 is N22.7 trillion.
“I have approved the securitisation of the ways and means balances along the following terms: Amount. (N23 .7 trillion),
Tenure (40years), Moratorium on principal repayment, (Three years), Pricing interest rate (9per cent).
“Your concurrence and approval is sought to allow for the implementation of same.”
The Senate President instantly forwarded the request to the Senate Committee on Finance for report consideration and passage during plenary today.
Lawan also said the request and the N819.5 billion supplementary budget would be considered during plenary today, along with the N20.51 trillion 2023 appropriation bill and other critical ones.
Lawan said, “We are referring these letters to our committees on Appropriation, Finance, Works, Water Resources and Agriculture today.
“They have to work on it and ensure that we follow the due processes. In that respect, the Minister of Finance, the CBN, misters of Agriculture, water resources and works to be invited and make themselves available for this process and to ensure that we get the right information between today and tomorrow.(Wednesday and Thursday).
“Tomorrow (Thursday) by the grace of God , will be the last legislative day for the 9th senate this year.
“It will be quite busy for us because we have to receive the report of the 2023 Appropriation Bill from our Committee on Appropriation.
“We will also receive report on Finance Bill, 2022 from our committee on Finance. We will also receive the report from the appropriation committee on the two reports that I have just read.
“Also, the committee on power will be bringing the report on power, so it’s going to be very busy for us. So, we may have to stay here for many hours in order to pass or consider the report”, he said
Meanwhile at the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila Gbajabiamila read the President’s communication on Ways and Means loan and referred it to the committees on Aids, Loan management and Finance for action.
The Deputy Minority Leader Hon. Toby Okechukwu requested the Speaker to circulate the letter amongst the members to make their contributions before committing to the committee.
He said, “I think that is a very message, very important letter that will not only affect very contemporary Nigerians, it will also affect our children and grandchildren.
“I think that it is important and prudent that Mr. Speaker should make it available to members after the debate on it, there will be proper referral so that we can be able to be put on a position to consider and have a knowledge based approach in attending to that letter. I so point out.”
Responding, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over the plenary session promised that the letter would be made available to every member.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase, however kicked against the distribution of the letters to members.
He insisted that the Speaker’s earlier ruling on the letter, by referring it to the appropriate committees was in order.
Wase said, “Mr. Speaker, respected colleagues, we have a procedure in this House.
“When communications are read on the floor of the House, what is supposed to be done is to refer it to the appropriate committee and I believe that is what the speaker has done.
“I want to appeal what has taken place is nothing too special, nothing different from the normal thing of what is supposed to be done.
“I want to beg that the ruling done by the speaker should be sustained and that we should make progress,” he said.