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Thursday, March 23, 2023

NASS Approves Buhari’s N4trn Fuel Subsidy

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The National Assembly yesterday approved the revised budget of N17,319,704,091,019 trillion for the 2022 fiscal year.

The revised sum of N17.3 trillion, which is in contrast with the 2022 budget of N17.13 trillion passed last year, represents a N193 billion increase.

But while the Senate approved N3.55 trillion for petrol subsidy, the House of Representatives okayed N4trillion, pegged the oil benchmark at $73 per barrel, from $62

The approval of the Appropriations Act, 2022 (Amendment) Bill was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Committee on Appropriations presented by its Chairman, Senator Jibrin Barau, All Progressives Congress, APC, Kano North.
The approval came with the passage of a bill to amend the 2022 Appropriations Act transmitted to the National Assembly on February 10, 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration.

Recall that the Senate had in December 2021, passed a budget of N17,126,873,917,692 trillion.
Of the total sum of N17,319,704,091,019 trillion passed, N817,699,410,210 billion is for Statutory Transfers; N3,978,087,110,437 trillion for Debt Service; N7,108,621,131,849 trillion for Recurrent (Non-Debt Expenditure); and N5,415,296,438,523 trillion for Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure.

Also, the Senate approved the total sum of N3.557 trillion for PMS subsidy in 2022, forward in two separate requests by the President to the National Assembly for approval.
It also approved the N192.52 billion aggregate increase sought by the executive, and an additional provision of N182.45 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigerian Police Force to enhance the morale of officers and men.

President Buhari in a letter to the legislature, dated February 10, 2022, sought an additional N2.557 trillion to fund subsidy payments from July to December 2022, just as he disclosed that 138 of the 254 projects in the budget, totalling N13.24 billion, had been identified for deletion.

The National Assembly in December 2021, had approved the sum of N442.7 billion for subsidy in the 2022 budget for the period of January to June this year.

Buhari in the letter, however, anchored his fresh request on the fact that PMS subsidy was not duly appropriated for in the national budget beyond June.

According to him, the development is a result of the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, which stopped all such payments past the given June deadline.

In another letter, dated April 12, 2022, President Buhari requested the National Assembly to approve an additional N1 trillion to his earlier N2.557 subsidy request to bring the total amount on payments to N4 trillion for the year 2022.

The President explained that the additional request was against the backdrop of adjustments to the 2022 fiscal framework which became imperative due to market developments occasioned by the spike in crude prices, following the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The chamber, accordingly, approved the President’s request for an additional N3.557 trillion for PMS subsidy, with the passage of the 2022 Appropriations Act (Amendment) Bill, yesterday.

It also approved the N192.52 billion aggregate increase sought by the executive, and an additional provision of N182.45 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigerian Police Force to boost the morale of its personnel.

The Senate, after passing the 2022 Appropriations Act (Amendment) Bill, adjourned the plenary till April 26, 2021.

Considering the report presented by the Committee on Finance in the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata on behalf of chairman Finance, James Faleke, who was absent at the plenary, the House, however, amended the budget and framework.

It caused an increase in the projected oil price benchmark to $73 per barrel, from $62, following a reduction in the projected oil production volume by 283,000 barrels per day, from 1.883 million barrels per day to 1.600 million barrels per day.

The House also made adjustments which included an increase in the estimated provision for Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS, subsidy for 2022 by N442.72 billion from N3.557 trillion to N4 trillion, and as well approved the fiscal deficit of N7.35 trillion.

Other adjustments were an N200 billion cut in the provision for federally-funded upstream projects being implemented, from N352.80 billion to N152.80 billion; an increase in the projection for federal government independent revenue by N400 billion; and an additional provision of N182.45 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigeria Police Force.

The same was also made to the domestic debt service provision of N76.13 billion, and net reductions in statutory transfers by N66.07 billion, as follows: Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, by N13.46 billion from N102.78 billion to N89.32 billion; North East Development Commission (NEDC), by N6.30 billion from N48.08 billion to N41.78 billion; Universal Basic Education (UBEC), by N23.16 billion from N112.29 billion to N89.13 billion; Basic Health Care Fund, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion; and NASENI, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion.

Meanwhile, the House also rescinded its decision on the Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund Bill as passed and re-committed it to the Committee of the Whole for reconsideration.

Briefing journalists after plenary, the chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Muktar Betera, said the only difference between the Appropriation Act and the amendment bill was the increment in the police budget which he described as a pledge made by the President to increase the salaries of the officers and men of the force.

According to him, the police budget was increased by N182 billion, bringing the total budget size to N17.320 trillion.

He said: “The President and Commander in Chief brought an amendment to the 2022 Appropriation Act which the House passed today. We passed the budget with an increment to police salaries. We increased the police budget by N182billion.

‘’That is the only difference between the Appropriation Act and the amendment bill. It’s just the police increment. And in the President’s request letter, he requested the House to reduce our input sent to him in the 2022 Appropriation Act and did some adjustments to the budget.’’

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