****adjourns plenary till January 18, 2022
The Senate has passed a N17.126trn budget for the 2022 fiscal year, raising the figure by N800 billion.
The passage of the budget was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Committee on Appropriations on the 2022 Appropriations bill.
The House of Representatives phad passed the budget on Tuesday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had submitted a budget of N16.391 trillion to the National Assembly.
The Senate also raised the oil benchmark to $62 as against the $52 that was proposed by the executive, while the exchange rate was retained at N410.15.
It said the increase in oil price was to reflect the current market values of the oil barrel in the international market.
In his presentation, Chairman of the Committee, Jibrin Barau (APC – Kano North), while giving highlights of the bill, said out of the total sum of N17.126trn for the fiscal year 2022, N869.6bn is for Statutory transfers; N3.8trn is for Debt Service; N6.9trn is for Recurrent Expenditure; and N5.4trn for Capital Expenditure.
Barau recalled that the National Assembly had approved 1.88mbpd Daily Oil Production and US$62 as against $US57 proposed by the executive arm of government.
He explained that the increase in oil price Benchmark from US$57 to US$62 was done to reflect the current market value in the international market.
He added that the exchange rate was pegged at N410.15/US$1, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Rate at 4.2 and Inflation Rate at 13 percent.
The lawmaker explained that out of the N17,126,873,917,692 passed, N869,667,187,542 is for Statutory Transfer; N6,909,849,788,737 is for Recurrent Expenditure; N5,467,403,959,863 is for Capital Expenditure; and N3,879,952,981,550 is for Debt Service.
The Committee in its recommendations stated that additional revenues discovered should be provided to the Works and Housing Ministry for funding of critical projects, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for the 2023 General Elections, Defence and the National Population Commission for the 2022 Population Census.
It added also that N98 billion naira increase in deficit should be approved to take care of some of the additional requests from the executive arm of government.
A breakdown of recurrent expenditure shows that N61,079,757,342 was budgeted for the Presidency in 2022, N996,09 1,292,618 for Defence, N79,243,483,198 for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N55,796,274,038 for Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, N257,626,461,524 for Ministry of Interior, N7,919,353,247 for Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, and N4,476,854,068 for the Auditor General for the Federation.
While the Federal Ministry of Police Affairs received N518,532,292,470, the Ministry of a communications and Digital Economy got N23,387,996,618, National Security Adviser – N155,820,2 14,009, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission – N1,344,674,257, Secretary to the Government of the Federation – N62,575,420,244, Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs – N4,439,614,685, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – N75,544,228,649, and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning – N28,604, 104,969.
In addition, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment received N17,966,745,438, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment – N14,453,726,978, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation – N49,683,523,165, Federal Ministry of Transport – N15,892,132,819, Federal Ministry of Aviation – N7,692,548,460, Federal Ministry of Power – N6,262,156,943, and Ministry of Petroleum Resources – N30,502,257, 191.
Also, N12,038,392,758 was budgeted for the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, N31,935,604,197 for Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, N870,534,226 for National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, N456,245,928 for Fiscal Responsibility Commission, N10,669,058,320 for Federal Ministry of Water Resources, N26,761,780,448 for Federal Ministry of Justice, and N11,655,253,717 for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission.
Others are Federal Capital Territory Administration – Nil, Federal Ministry of Niger Delta – N2,569,680,304, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development – N185,489,102,966, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs – N2,103,758,084, Federal Ministry of Education – N593,473,925,256, Federal Ministry of Health – N462,858,698,619, Federal Ministry of Environment – N22,796,647,842, National Population Commission – N8,880,618,082, and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development – N7,669,972,542.
Other Executive bodies such as the Federal Code of Conduct Bureau received N2,343,845,401, Code of Conduct Tribunal – N830,910,644, Federal Character Commission – N3,272,871,999, Federal Civil Service Commission – N1,217,473,478, Police Service Commission – N926,505,919, and Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission – N2,337,230,632.
The Senate, after passing the 2022 budget, adjourned plenary till January 18, 2022 for the Christmas break.
Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials
The Senate has urged the Federal Government to henceforth withhold statutory allocation to the Local Governments Councils(LGC) without democratically elected leaders
In the last three months of August, September and October the Local Governments received N702.647b out of N1.006 shared for the three tiers of government in the period under review.
The legality or otherwise of the Federal Governmemt’s power to enforce the Senate’s recommendation is left for legal experts to analyse
The Senate’s recommendation came after debate on the Urgent Need to halt the erosion of democracy: the dissolution of elected Councils in Benue State sponsored by Sen. Moro, Abba Patrick (Benne South)
The senate condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected Local Government Councils in Benue and other states in Nigeria
It also resolved to urge the Federal Government to review the Benue State governor’s dissolution of the elected councils and constitution of caretaker committees and reinstate the elected council executive forthwith.
The upper legislative chamber urged the governor of Benue state to adhere to his oath of office to obey the rule of law and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While leading the debate Senator Moro he was dismayed by the dissolution of Democratically Elected Councils in Benue State,
According to him, replacing the elected chairmen with Caretaker Committees to is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)
Quoting Section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) he said it guarantees a system of local government by Democratically Elected Councils.
He insisted that it is the Constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of Local
Government Councils by law.
He indicated that there are subsisting court rulings directing the Governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies etc not to tamper with the tenure of the elected Councils
He therefore challenged the Governor/Government of Benue State to first appeale the outstanding judgments which has not been done adding that it is against the grain of the rule of law
Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) pointed out thatabout 16 states in Nigeria are currently without democratically elected council officials.
He urged the Senate to direct the Finance Minister to stop funding LGS without elected council officials.
Oshiomhole’s suggestion was supported by Senator Ali Ndume.
The senator representing Oyo North, Abdulfatai Buhari indicated that the Electoral Act should be amended to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections.
The President of the senate Godswill Akpabio also frowned at the establishment of multiple federal agencies but advocated the creation of the National Electoral Commission for Local Government so that governors would no longer have overbearing influence on council polls
Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Senate to give him the authorization to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to carryout critical projects across the country.
The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.
The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic
***Plead with Tinubu to restore electricity supply to Niger
The Northern Senators Forum on Monday called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of Urgency use his position as Chairman of ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community
They also demanded that Nigeria restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
The senators had in July on the heels of the military forceful take over of the democratically elected government in Niger, cautioned President Tinubu against use of Military power towards tackling the military coup, as they called for diplomatic options.
A communique issued at the end of their emergency meeting which was read by the chairman of the forum, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauch Central) stated, “The forum on very strong terms condemn the spate of Military intervention in the democratic spaces in the West African subregion.
“The Northern Senators Forum in particular condemns the coup in Niger and urged the military junta in Niger to soften the relationship with the rest of ECOWAS military by setting free President Muhammed Bazoum and his immediate family to freely choose a country of his choice for asylum
They further urged the junta in Niger to bring about a transition time table that will last not more than two years.
They ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community.
“It is important that Nigeriens should not suffer because of the coup that took place just like we have seen what is happening in Gaza
“We ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander in chief of the Armed forces and of course the chairman of ECOWAS, President Muhammed Bola Tinubu to as a matter of humanitarian gesture restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
Ningi called on Nigerians and Nigerien to remember that they remain brothers, partners and Africans and above all, we remain human beings
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