Disagreement in Presidency over N1 trillion budget increase

Checkout Magazine has learned that the Presidency does not agree with the National Assembly over the legislature’s decision to increase the estimated 2022 national budget by N1 trillion.

According to our sources, the increase has sparked misgivings at the seat of power and has the Federal Government already weighing its options on the development.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari on October 7, presented a bill of N16,391,023,917,692 to the National Assembly.

However, the lawmakers passed the budget on Wednesday after increasing it from N16,391,023,917,692 to N17,126,873,917,692.

The President received the N17. 1 trillion bills for assent yesterday.

Entitled “Appropriation Bill 2022,” the budget was forwarded to the President by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Ojo Olatunde Amos, with a covering letter.

The letter reads: “In consonance with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, I wish, with due respect, to forward to Your Excellency, the authenticated copies of the Appropriation Bill, 2022 for your consideration and assent.

“After Your Excellency’s assent, one copy of the signed Bill should be retained in your office while the other two are to be returned for our further action, please. With my highest regards.”

A top source, however, said the Federal Government would look at the budget, especially allocations either adjusted or added to it.

His words: “The government submitted a proposal to the National Assembly and the lawmakers within their constitutional powers increased it by N1 trillion. This is on the high side.

“Now that the budget has been passed, the government will take another look at the estimates before President Buhari assents it. We will pay attention to areas where the budget was jacked up.

“The Federal Government may not agree with the lawmakers on the increase but it will engage them before the President signs the bill into law.

“The National Assembly did not put into consideration the fact that we have limited resources to fund the budget. The alternative is taking loans to finance it. Yet, the mood of the nation does not support fresh loans.

“We also must make the National Assembly know if the new oil price benchmark of $62 per barrel set by the lawmakers is realistic or not. You know the Executive based its projections on $57 per barrel.

“So, we have to open up to the National Assembly on what we think are the ways out. Since the President is now in receipt of the bill, the Executive will quickly study it.”

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, after passing the bill, said in part: ” [And] we are very optimistic that Mr. President will assent to the bill, as he did for 2020 and 2021 so that by January 2022, the implementation of the budget 2022 will commence by the grace of God.”



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