Buhari Expresses Concerns Over “Worrisome Changes” In 2022 Budget

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President Muhammadu Buhari has made known his concerns over the “worrisome changes” made by the national assembly to the 2022 executive budget.

Buhari assented to the N17.13 trillion 2022 appropriation bill into law on Friday.

The Executive had forwarded a proposal worth N16.391 trillion to the National Assembly which the legislature raised to N17.127 trillion.

Buhari in his remarks following his assent to the budget, stated that the lawmakers cut the sum allocated to some projects — but added 6,576 projects of their own to the 2022 budget.

‘‘It is in this regard that I must express my reservations about many of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal,” he said.

‘‘Some of the worrisome changes are as follows:

‘‘Increase in projected FGN Independent Revenue by N400 billion, the justification for which is yet to be provided to the Executive;

‘‘Reduction in the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Bonds by N22 billion without any explanation;

‘‘Reduction of 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;

‘‘Furthermore, 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;

‘‘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.’’

Buhari also expressed concern in the 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 this ministry and its agencies”.

‘‘Inclusion of new provisions totalling N36.59 billion for National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote which 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.

‘‘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.

‘‘Reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment’ projects.

‘‘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 conceptualised, designed and costed.

‘‘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.’’

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