The 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill of N2.1 trillion expeditiously scaled second reading on Tuesday in the Senate.
President Bola Tinubu had written the Senate seeking the approval of the sum of N2,176,791,286,033 as 2023 supplementary budget to address labour wage adjustments, security and other urgent issues.
The President also sent the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the Senate for consideration.
NAN reports that on Monday, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the 2023 supplementary budget of N2.1 trillion.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, the Leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele said “permit me to move a motion for the suspension of our Rule 78 (1) in order to read the bill a second time.”
Bamidele said that the bill sought to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the sum of N2,176,791,286,033 of which N18 billion only is for statutory transfers.
“The 2023 budget is needed to fund urgent issues including related to capital expenditure on defence and security in order to tackle prevailing security situation.
He explained that the supplementary appropriation bill would make provision for N210 billion for payments of wage awards in the negotiation with Labour which the Federal government agreed in order to pay N35, 000 to about 1.5 million federal civil servants.
He said the supplementary budget also made provision for N18 billion for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to facilitate the conduct of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi elections which were scheduled to hold in November.
Bamidele further said that N5.5 billion was provided for the funding of the takeoff of the students loans as well as N 1billion for the takeoff grants of new ministries and N200 billion was equally earmarked for capital supplementation to deal with urgent requests.
On budget for Defence , Bamidele said, ” considering the state of insecurity in the country, 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 scrutinised 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”
Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, said, “We are all aware of the fact that whenever a new government gets ushered into office, it is normal for that government to bring forward a supplementary appropriation bill.
“This is to tailor the affairs of such government in line with the policy and programme of the new government.
“Normally, you have this kind of supplementary appropriation bill being brought to the National Assembly for approval in the first or second month of such new administration but this government decided to take its time to study its challenges and areas that need funding.
“It took time. And so it decided that the challenges that we face in the areas of insecurity, agriculture and infrastructure should be dealt with. Then it decided that this bill should be brought for approval. It is a normal practice everywhere in the world”.
Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Ali Ndume, said that there was the need to provide the security agencies with what was needed to tackle insecurity.
He said the budget was made to tackle short and immediate needs and stressed the need for it to be extended so that it would tackle all challenges.
On his part, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Sani Musa said that the budget was necessary for the off cycle elections in three states.
“It is better to appropriate the money so that INEC will start preparation on time.”
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, commended President Bola Tinubu for bringing the supplementary bill to address inflation, working population, students and decay infrastructure.(NAN)