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Senate to pass N895.8 bln supplementary budget on Tuesday

The Senate may pass the N895.84 billion supplementary budget submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari for approval of the upper chamber next, according to the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan.

Lawan dropped the hint Wednesday while speaking after the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, had led the debate for the second reading of the N895.84 billion supplementary budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

He referred the Appropriation Bill sent to the Senate by the president on June 15 to the Senate Committee on Appropriation headed.

Lawan, who gave the directive after the supplementary appropriation bill passed the second reading on the floor of the Senate, asked the committee to submit its report Tuesday next week.

He said the report of the panel would be submitted, considered, and passed the same day.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, June 15 transmitted the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

President Buhari, in the letter which was read Tuesday at the plenary after a 12-day recess by the Senate to mark the second legislative year of the ninth National Assembly, explained that the amount captured in the Bill was proposed to fund the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

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He added that part of the supplementary budget would be used to also fund health-related expenditures for treatment of additional 50,000 patients under the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme in states; as well as to procure additional equipment captured in this year’s capital expenditure on defence and security to tackle prevalent security challenges across the country.

The president also explained to the senators that the supplementary budget will be funded through existing facilities sourced from the World Bank as well as available new facilities.

“Let me seize this opportunity, to express my deep gratitude, for the cooperation and support, of the Leadership and Distinguished Members of the Senate, in our collective efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and address the various security and other challenges facing the country.

“It has become necessary to prepare the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill considering the urgent need to make provision for procurement and administration of COVlD-19 vaccines.

“The availability of COVlD-19 vaccines and the procurement terms were still uncertain as at the time of finalising the 2021 budget. Hence, there was no provision in the 2021 Appropriation Act for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

“However, the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) have now developed a Covid-19 vaccine programme for the country. Under the vaccine programme, 70% of eligible Nigerians are to be vaccinated between 2021 and 2022.

“In addition, our security and law enforcement agencies urgently need to procure additional equipment and other resources in response to the prevalent security challenges across the country.

“The Ministry of Defence has carefully scrutinized these procurement needs, which the military authorities claim to represent the minimum requirements to secure our country and address current external and internal security challenges.

“Furthermore, additional funds are required to meet our commitment to treat additional 50,000 patients under the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme in States (NCAPS), as the amount provisioned in the 2021 Appropriation Bill for this purpose was inexplicably cut by the National Assembly.

“In order to address the urgent problem of oxygen availability in the country and avoid the potential loss of lives, provision was made for the procurement and installation of new oxygen plants nationwide and repairs of oxygen plants in FCT hospitals.

“It is also necessary to provide additional funds for public service wage adjustment to cater for sundry wage-related issues in the health and other sectors, which if not resolved can add to the prevalent sense of instability in the polity.

“The Supplementary Budget request is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917 (Eight Hundred and Ninety-Five Billion, Eight Hundred and Forty-Two Million, Four Hundred and Sixty-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventeen Naira) only.

“We propose to fund N45.63 billion of the N83.56 billion required for the COVlD-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans (which would be restructured) as well as Other Grants totalling US$113.22 million.

“The balance of N37.93 billion required for COVlD-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditures totalling N41.69 billion and the N48.20 billion recurrent component of defence/security expenditure will be funded by drawing N135 billion from some Special Reserve/Levy Accounts, which will be captured as revenues to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).

“We propose to fund the balance of N722.40 billion for capital expenditure on defence/security and capital supplementation from new borrowings, in the absence of any supplementary revenue sources.

“Understandably, needs currently abound in many other sectors. However, we have limited the supplementary budget proposal to just these critical and emergency areas of need due to our severe fiscal constraints.

“All other needs would be deferred to the 2022 budget, which we plan to present in September of this year.”

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