Senate Approves N983Bn Supplementary Budget, $6.2Bn Foreign Loan
Ahmad Lawan, Senate President

Senate Approves N983Bn Supplementary Budget, $6.2Bn Foreign Loan

The Nigerian Senate has passed the N982.7 billion 2021 supplementary appropriations budget for the fiscal year 2021 to buy military equipment and Covid-19 vaccines that were not earlier provided for in the main fiscal spending for the year.

Lawmakers’ decision followed the adoption of the report of its Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday’s plenary. Senate also passed a $6.2 billion Eurobond to fund the N5.6 trillion budget deficit for the year.

Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Barau Jibrin, said the supplementary budget was to make available funds for procurement of military equipment and COVID-19 vaccines among others.

He said the committee considered the contributions of lawmakers during the debate on the general principles of the bill.

“The committee had an engagement with relevant stakeholders and subsequently harmonised its report with that of House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations.

Senate Approves N983Bn Supplementary Budget, $6.2Bn Foreign Loan
Ahmad Lawan, Senate President

“Consequently, the Committee in line with the harmonised position with the House of Representatives recommended an upward review of funding for some security agencies that were grossly underfunded in the supplementary appropriation bill,” he said.

Jibrin listed the agencies to include Nigerian Navy, Ministry of Police Affairs, Defence Intelligence Agency, Department of State Security Services and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“The committee hereby recommends authorisation of issuance from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation the aggregate sum of N982 billion.

“Out of which N123 billion is for recurrent non-debt expenditure, while the N859 billion is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure for the year ending Dec.31,” he said.

President of Senate, Ahmed Lawan, said the supplementary budget was targeted at addressing security challenges facing the country, as well as ensuring procurement, administration and management of COVID-19 vaccines.

Lawan said the Senate expected its relevant committees to be alive in their oversight duties to ensure effective utilisation of the funds. He said it was important to have a review of the application of the funds before the passage of the 2022 appropriation bill.

Lawan said passing the supplementary appropriation was a necessary intervention by the National Assembly and the Federal Government.

President Muhammadu Buhari had presented a supplementary appropriation bill of N895 .8billion to the National Assembly for approval. The lawmakers, however, raised the amount to N982.7 billion, representing an increase of N86.9 billion.

The government had not made a provision to cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccinations when it adopted the 2021 budget in December. President Muhammadu Buhari has said health authorities plan to vaccinate 70% of adults this year and next.

The supplementary budget will now go to the Lower House of Assembly before being submitted to Buhari for his signature. Parliament also approved the external borrowing of about $6.2 billion through the issuance of a Eurobond.

Senate Approves N983Bn Supplementary Budget, $6.2Bn Foreign Loan