By our reporter/ The N16.9 trillion 2022 budget proposal presented to the national assembly last Thursday by president Muhammadu Buhari has passed the second reading in the Senate.
The passage through the second reading follows a debate by federal legislators on the budget.
Out of the total expenditure of N16.39 trillion naira proposed for the Federal Government in 2022, N768.28 is for statutory transfers; N6.83 trillion is for non-debt recurrent costs; and N4.11 trillion.
Others are N577.0 billion for pensions, gratuities, and retirees’ benefits; N792.39 for overheads; N5.35 trillion for capital expenditure, including a capital component of statutory transfers; N3.61 trillion for debt service; and N292.71 billion Naira for sinking fund to retire certain maturing bonds.
During the debate, lawmakers noted the budget deficit in the 2022 Appropriation Bill and the proposed borrowing.
According to Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi), if foreign loans are deployed for infrastructure development, wealth, and job creation then the borrowing should not be regarded as alarming. He also wants the government to invest more in solid minerals.
But Senator Betty Apiafi, (PDP Rivers) debunks the argument that Nigeria is under borrowing.
Nigeria, she said is one of the African countries with the highest debt to borrowing ratio.
Legislators like Senator Matthew Urhogide (PDP Edo) and Christopher Ekpeyong (PDP Akwa Ibom) want the parliament to scrutinize the recurrent expenditure of different MDA’s.
They are also seeking more information from MDA’s on the use of service-wide votes in the budget which they say is mostly hidden.