The Nigerian Senate has passed a sum of N8.916 trillion as estimates for the 2019 budget as against the N8.83 trillion earlier proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The new budget figure was passed after Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje, presented a report during Tuesday’s plenary.
The figure is N86 billion higher than the estimated presented by Buhari before a joint session of the national assembly on December 19.
Goje pointed out that this is the first time that the senate would not tamper with key assumptions such as $60 per barrel of crude oil and N305/$ benchmark.
“This is the first time that the benchmark will not be increased,” he said.
Thereafter, the Senators voted on the clauses of the appropriation bill in the committee of supply.
They also approved a N10 billion intervention fund for Zamfara following the activities of bandits and kidnappers that have ravaged the state.
Below are key components of the budget as passed by the senators:
The Senate passed the budget with the breakdown as follows:
Statutory transfer – N502.58 .billion
Debt service – N2.25 trillion
Recurrent expenditure – N4.65 trillion
Capital expenditure – N2.94 trillion
In an additional recommendation, the Senate approved a N10 billion fund to be drawn from service-wide votes to assist victims of Zamfara crisis.
The Senate had, in one of its plenaries, approved the special fund.
The lawmakers adopted the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, earlier presented.
A daily production rate of 2.3 million barrels, at $60 per barrel was also adopted, as suggested by the executive.
The Senate immediately communicated changes made to the budget to the House of Representatives, to ensure there is no conference committee which could further stall the passage.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, thanked his colleagues and charged the executive on implementation of the budget.
“We hope that with this budget passed, the executive will ensure full implementation for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he said.
The Senate, thereafter, adjourned for an hour to allow the secretariat to make available votes and proceedings of the day to allow speedy transmission of the bill to the President.
The N8.83 trillion budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Buhari on December 19, 2018.
Also on Tuesday, the National Assembly approved the payment of the sum of N23.679 billion severance package for outgoing senators and members of the House of Representatives as well as their legislative aides.
Substantial part of the money will be for the induction and inauguration of Senators-elect and Members-elect of the 9th National Assembly.
The amount was part of the total sum of N8.907 trillion expenditure approved by the National Assembly for 2019 fiscal year.
The amount is N17 billion above the sum of N8.83 trillion proposed by Buhari to the joint session of the parliament.
“There is a slight increase in the budget deficit. This is as a result of the provision for the severance benefits of the outgoing legislators and legislative aides,” Goje disclosed.
From the total sum of N502.059 billion approved for statutory transfers, National Assembly gets N128 billion; National Judicial Council gets N110 billion; Niger Delta gets N100.189 billion; Universal Basic Education gets N112.471 billion; INEC gets N45 billion, Public Complaint Commission gets N4.399 billion while National Human Rights Commission gets N1.5 billion, respectively.
According to the budget proposal submitted by the President, N8.83 trillion of the 2019 aggregate expenditure comprises: Recurrent Costs of N4.04 trillion; Debt Service of N2.14 trillion; Statutory Transfers of about N492.36 billion; Sinking Fund of N120 billion which will be used to retire maturing bond to local contractors and Capital Expenditure of N2.031 trillion including capital supplementation but excluding the capital component of Statutory Transfers.
Under the recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, the Presidency is to get the sum of N33.057 million; Ministry of Interior gets N564.223 billion; Education gets N463.396 billion; National Security Adviser gets N86.840 billion; Petroleum Resource gets N67.851 billion; Foreign Affairs gets N66.107 billion; Secretary to the Government of the Federation gets N63.400 billion while Agriculture and Rural Development gets N57.677 billion.