The National Assembly on Thursday approved the N2.18tn 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill forwarded to it for consideration by President Bola Tinubu.
While the Senate approved the N5bn proposed for a presidential yacht in the budget, the House of Representatives cancelled the allocation and added it to the student loan, increasing the budget for the scheme to N10bn, up from the initial N5.5bn.dren Are Vulcanisers | Punch
Although the harmonised budget report presented by the Chairman of the Senate Committee of Appropriations, Solomon Adeola, (Ogun West), was jointly signed by himself and the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abubakar Bichi, the House refused to adopt the N5bn yacht allocation.
Speaking on the House’s refusal to approve the planned purchase of the boat, Bichi stated, “As far as we are concerned, we don’t need that anymore. We have increased the student loan.
“If you can recall, the student loan was N5bn in the budget, but now we have increased it from N5bn to N10bn so that our students will be able to access that facility in order for them to be able to go to school and to be able to afford them.”
Included in the renovation plan were the residential quarters for the President which was put at N4bn; the renovation of Aguda House (VP’s residence) N2.5bn; the renovation of Dodan Barracks, the official residence of Mr President in Lagos, N4bn; as well as the rehabilitation of the official quarters of the Vice-President in Lagos for N3bn.
Also included in the budget passed by the Senate is the N5.09bn allocated for the yacht which was listed under the Nigerian Navy’s proposed capital expenditure of N42.3 billion; N2.9bn for sport utility vehicles for the Presidential Villa and another N2.9bn for the replacement of operational vehicles for the Presidency.
Furthermore, N12.5bn was allocated for the Presidential Air Fleet.The presidential fleet includes Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or NAF 001), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.
Although not recognized in the Constitution, the office of the First Lady will spend a total sum of N1.5bn.
As requested by Tinubu in the letter read in the Senate during plenary on Tuesday, the request was given expeditious consideration.
Tinubu had explained that the sum of N2,176,791,286,033 as the 2023 supplementary budget would address labour wage adjustments, security, and more.
The PUNCH had reported that the committee on Appropriations on Wednesday interfaced with the ministers heading the agencies captured in the supplementary budget.
The officials included the Minister of Works, David Umahi; the Minister of Housing, Ahmed Dangiwa, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari; the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawale as well as the Service Chiefs.
Before the bill’s passage, Senator Adeola presented a harmonized report from both chambers on the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.
The bill expeditiously scaled readings in both upper and lower chambers as lawmakers said it was for the benefit of the country.
Adeola noted that his committee received input from the leadership of the relevant sub-committees and heads of the benefitting ministries, departments, and agencies of government in scrutinizing the budget details.
In his presentation, Adeola recommended that N18bn be approved for statutory transfers, N1.3tn for recurrent (Non-debt) expenditure, and N1.1tn for contribution to the Development Fund for capital expenditure for the year ending.
He listed the federal MDAs that would benefit from the supplementary budget to include the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Defence, police formations and commands, and the Office of the National Security Adviser.
He pledged adequate legislative oversight to ensure 100 per cent implementation.
He said, “Today, our committee has submitted our report, and the House after careful consideration, approved our submission, the breakdown is as follows:
“As you know, the budget is about N2.177tn and the Ministry of Defence has N456bn, but currently, they have the largest share because we know how important our security is.
“And as you are aware, we interacted with them yesterday (Wednesday) and they requested additional funding so that they can continue their work. So, we have increased their budget from N476 to N546bn.’’
Continuing, he noted, “Then, police formation and commands; we gave them N50bn while the FCT has about N100bn. You know FCT is very important to us because we want to make sure FCT can compete with any city in the world.
“Office of the National Security Adviser: We know how important that office is. Initially, the allocation was N27bn but currently, we have increased their budget to N50bn.
“The initial budget for the State House was N28bn and we still maintain their figure at N28bn as well.’’
“Ministry of Agriculture: you know how important that ministry is, you are talking about food security, and of course, it’s very critical and important to our people across the nation. So, we have maintained their initial figure of N200bn as well.
“You know how serious the housing deficit in this country is and in M President’s agenda, he wants to build as many houses as he can. So, we have approved N100 billion for the Ministry of Housing,” he said.