Senate raise Buhari’s N180bn request by N33bn
by OWEDE AGBAJILEKE
November 29, 2016 | 1:30 pm| | | Start Conversation
The Senate Tuesday increased the N180 billion virement sought for by President Muhammadu Buhari to fund critical recurrent and capital items in the 2016 budget by N33billion, taking it to N213.821 billion.
President Buhari had on Wednesday 16th November, 2016 asked the Senate to approve the release of N180 billion from the N500 billion Social Intervention Fund contained in the 2016 budget.
Senate, however, increased the amount to N213billion after a public hearing to cover shortfalls in affected Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
The amount is N5billion higher than the N208billion approved by the House of Representatives last week.
Specifically, the upper chamber approved the sum of N167,113 billion for recurrent expenditure, N2.500 billion for Statutory Transfers and N44.28 billion for capital projects.
The report of the Senate Committee on Appropriations was presented to the Senate on Tuesday by its Chairman, Danjuma Goje.
Breakdown of the expenditure shows that Service Wide Vote: Public Service Wage Adjustment got N71,800,215,270; Service Wide Vote: Contingency received N1,200,000,000; Service Wide Vote: Margin for increase in Cost, N2,000,000,000; Ministry of Interior: Cadet feeding-Police Academy Wudil, Kano N932,400,000; Service Wide Vote: Amnesty Programme N35,000,000,000; Service Wide Vote: internal operations of the Armed Forces N5,205,930,270; Service Wide Vote: Operation Lafiya Dole N13,933,093,000; Ministry of Youth and Sports Development: NYSC N19,792,018,400; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Foreign Missions N16,349,647,078; Federal Ministry of Education: Augmentation of Meal Subsidy/Direct Teaching and Laboratory Cost N900,000,000 and Sustainable Development Goal N5billion. .
The committee also recommended that the sum of N300m appropriated in the 2016 budget under the Transmission Company of Nigeria for the construction of 132 KVA Substation at Gwaram, Jigawa be vired for the Reconstruction of Fallen Towers, Replacement of Glass Insulators, for Gagarawa, Jigawa (TCN01B021775).
In his contribution, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, pointed out that virement is unknown to the constitution.
Citing Section 81 (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), he said: “We have been going through the issue of virement which is not known in our constitution. It is a military terminology and it is certainly not in our constitution. What is in our constitution because when they present this virement nobody makes any reference to any law authorising it. What we do is in respect of this constitution, we swear an oath to abide by the provisions of this constitution. Regarding appropriation, we have either the appropriation Act or the supplementary act, there is nothing like virement”.
According to him, the proper thing for the Executive to do is to submit a supplementary budget.
Recall that Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning had attributed the inability of the Executive to submit a supplementary budget to lack of funds.
Although Senate President, Bukola Saraki who presided over the session, agrees with Ekweremadu, he however, explained that the upper chamber has to be flexible to make things work.
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