The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday expressed concern over a budget deficit of N6.26 trillion in the 2022 appropriation bill.
The lawmakers commenced a debate on the 2bil presented to the National Assembly last week by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the debate on the bill would be concluded today, Wednesday.
President Buhari had on Thursday last week presented a N16.39 trillion budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year.
The federal government said it will finance the deficit with new borrowing.
Leading a debate on the general principles of the bill, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the increasing deficit could be tackled either by increasing taxes, cutting expenditure and borrowing.
He, however, explained that an increase in taxes was not feasible because the majority of Nigeria’s population are made up of the poor.
The lawmaker observed that it is more dangerous to sack workers in a bid to cut down on government spending, warning that doing so would expose the country to political and economic turbulence.
He added that the country’s last option of borrowing would allow the nation to survive the present challenges and stabilize the polity and economy.
“In the 2022 budget, deficit spending has become necessary in order to ensure that the economy does not relapse into another recession after strongly coming out of the last one with a respectable 5 per cent growth in the second quarter of this year.
“Deficit financing is mainly to fund capital expenditure. These new borrowings totalling N5.01 trillion naira, N90.73 billion naira from Privatization proceeds and 1.16 trillion naira drawdowns on loans secure for specific development projects.
“Although there is a growing concern over this administration’s resort to borrowing to finance fiscal gaps, let me state here that the debt level of the federal government is still within sustainable limits”, Senator Yahaya said.