Senate President Ahmad Lawan has decried the level of deficit of the 2022 Budget.
He made this known at the presentation of the 2022 Budget estimates by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja on Thursday.
Newsmen report that the deficit stands at N 6.26 trillion.
Mr Lawan, who noted that the level of the budget deficit is high, said both the legislature and the executive should work to reduce the deficit through the availability of more revenues.
“Generating and collecting revenues have remained major challenges in our quest for development.
“The recent efforts by the National Assembly as well as the executive to challenge the revenue-generating agencies is a step in the right direction.
“Equally important is the recent position taken by the Legislature and the Executive to insist on zero allocation for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that fail to remit/upload their revenues for the 2022 Appropriation.
“This saw an increase in the contribution of the MDAs by over N400 billion. It is my view that MDAs can contribute to the Federation Account much more than that.
“This policy should be expanded and deepen to cover more MDAs,” Mr Lawan said.
On borrowings, the senate president said: “We understand that due to paucity of revenue, the federal government has to resort to raising funds from foreign and domestic sources to provide infrastructure across the country.
“That is why the National Assembly approved the requests for borrowing.
“The Commitment of the federal government in providing infrastructure across the country means that the funds must be raised one way or the other.
“Government should also explore other sources of funding its projects in order to reduce borrowing.”
Mr Lawan said the security of lives and property of Nigerians was still a challenge.
He noted that the National Assembly was ever willing to work with the executive to continue to work for better security for citizens.
“The recent changes in the leadership of the armed forces is a clear testimony of the collaboration between the legislature and the executive to overhaul the security architecture for better outcomes in our fight against the myriads of security challenges,” he said.
Newsmen report that Mr Buhari presented the 2022 Appropriation Bill for an aggregate expenditure of N16.39 trillion to the National Assembly.
Addressing the joint session of the NASS on Thursday in Abuja, the president described the 2022 Appropriation as a Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability.
According to him, the 2022 budget is also the first in the nation history, where Ministries, Developments and Agencies (MDAs) were clearly advised on gender-responsive budgeting.
“These are part of critical steps in our efforts to distribute resources fairly and reach vulnerable groups of our society,’’ he said.
He maintained that defence and internal security would continue to be on top priority of his administration.