• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

National Assembly to receive ‘N6.6trn’ supplementary budget next week

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Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the two chambers of the National Assembly are set to receive 2024 Supplementary Appropriation Bill from the presidency next week. This bill will encompass the costs for the presidential jet and the proposed minimum wage.

Yemi Adaramodu, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Affairs, who confirmed this to BusinessDay, said the supplementary budget is expected to be around N6.6 trillion, though he emphasised that this figure is not yet official.

“We will receive the supplementary budget next week; N6.6 trillion is a bandit figure, it is not yet official,” he said.

Once passed, Nigeria will be operating a total of four budgets in the 2024 fiscal year. Last week, the National Assembly extended the implementation period for the capital component of the N21.83 trillion 2023 budget and the N2.17 trillion 2023 supplementary budget from June 30 to December 31, 2024.

Adaramodu mentioned that the proposed budget would include provisions for the national minimum wage. Although the Senate has yet to receive the minimum wage bill, he noted that any figure proposed by the executive will be reviewed following public hearings with all critical stakeholders

Addressing speculation that the National Assembly may approve N70,000 as the minimum wage, Adaramodu did not confirm or deny these rumors. He, however indicated that the National Assembly is cautious about commenting on the proposed wage to avoid stirring controversy or protests within the political space.

“The minimum wage will be captured in the 2024 supplementary budget. Once we receive the bill, whatever the president submits is not necessarily what we will approve. We will hold public hearings involving all critical stakeholders to agree,” he stated.

Regarding the proposed presidential jet, Adaramodu said the Senate would grant approval if the need for the jet is justified, despite public criticism.

“The request for the presidential jet has not yet come to us. If we can justify it, and we think it’s doable and will not affect budgetary provisions for Nigerians, we will approve it. We won’t let public criticism prevent us from approving something important,” he emphasized.

Adaramodu clarified that Senate President Godswill Akpabio was taken out of context when he said the Senate would approve the presidential jet regardless of blackmail or public sentiment. He explained that Akpabio was only trying to communicate the Senate’s intention to approve the jet if necessary.

In addition to the minimum wage and the presidential jet, the proposed budget will fund four identified projects.

According to Atiku Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, these projects include the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, the proposed Sokoto-Badagry Road, and the completion of all ongoing railway projects that still require federal government counterpart funding.

Bagudu, while addressing a joint committee of the National Assembly informed that the supplementary budget would be partly funded by the N50 billion Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), currently held by the National Sovereign Wealth Investment Authority (NSWIA).

However, he acknowledged that the N50 billion in the fund would not be sufficient to finance the Renewed Hope Transformational Projects. Consequently, the federal government has approached the World Bank for a $2.5 billion loan, among other revenue sources.

The minister disclosed that the World Bank management would soon meet to decide on the approval of the loan.

Bagudu also highlighted that the proposed bill would fund the rehabilitation and expansion of dams and irrigation schemes to support increased production within the economy. Additionally, the supplementary budget would allocate more funds to support Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects to enhance energy competitiveness.

The minister added that the Trans-Sahara Highway, inherited by the current administration, would also receive funding from the supplementary budget.