The Senate on Tuesday began a debate on the 2022 appropriation bill.
This followed the presentation of the lead debate on the general principles of the bill by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi during the plenary.
The bill is titled “A Bill for an Act to authorise the issuance from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, the total sum of N16.39 trillion of which N768.28 billion is for statutory transfers.”
Presenting the bill for second reading, Abdullahi recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday, Oct. 7, presented the 2022 Budget of N16.39 trillion to National Assembly for consideration.
The budget is entitled “Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability”.
“In accordance with our Standing Order 92(1b), the 2022 Appropriation Bill is billed to have been read for the first time by virtue of its presentation to a joint session of the National Assembly.
“A total expenditure of N16.39 trillion is proposed for the Federal Government in 2022.
“The proposed expenditure comprises Statutory Transfers of N768.28 billion; Non-debt Recurrent Costs of N6.83 trillion; Personnel Costs of N4.11 trillion.
“Pensions, Gratuities and Retirees’ Benefits N577.0 billion Naira; Overheads of N792.39 billion, Capital Expenditure of N5.35 trillion including the capital component of Statutory Transfers; Debt Service of N3.61 trillion and Sinking Fund of N292.71 billion to retire certain maturing bonds, ” he said.
Abdullahi added “We plan to finance the deficit mainly by new borrowings totalling N5.01 trillion, N90.73 billion from Privatisation Proceeds and N1.16 trillion drawdowns on loans secured for specific development projects.
“Some have expressed concern over our resort to borrowing to finance our fiscal gaps. They are right to be concerned.
“However, we believe that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits. Borrowings are too specific strategic projects and can be verified publicly.”
Contributing, Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe while speaking on cutting down the expenditure, said “I do not think that the problem is the expenditure that goes to supporting our people.
“I think the expenditure is that on government itself, 40 percent of what we spent today on overhead can be cut.”
He said that government should be creative in making sure that it cut down the expenditure.
Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi) said there was a need to explore other avenues of funding critical projects.
“These critical projects should be taken by the private sector as long as there is enabling environment; as long as there are ways and means of recovering whatever money they invest.
“Public-Private Partnership is a way of harnessing critical infrastructure without relying on the budget or on borrowing or on the deficit,” Aliero said.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan urged other senators who would like to make contributions on the next legislative day to get prepared.