The House of Representatives has passed the 2022 Appropriation Bill for a second reading.
Speaking at the plenary on Thursday where the lawmakers continued the debate on the 2022 appropriation bill, House Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, decried poor allocation to the National Assembly.
He said the oil benchmark pegged at $57 per barrel should be increased to between $63 and $65 per barrel.
Kalu added: “I’m also concerned about the daily production of crude which is at 1.88 million per day. Though we might agree that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but remember that 300 to 400 million is incandescent and NNPC needs to sit up.
“Finally, this concerns the House, because the statutory transfer, there’s an increase from N484.49 billion and that’s a reflection of 58 per cent increase and increase of N283.79 billion. Do you know that this increase does not reflect on the amount that comes to the National Assembly, but remember when there was a lower budget aggregate, it was reduced from N150 billion to N128 billion?”
He said in 2019, N125 billion was budgeted for the National Assembly, which is 1.42 per cent of the N8.3 trillion, while in 2020, N128 billion was budgeted for the Nation Assembly, saying it was a reduction from 1.42 per cent.
Continuing, Kalu stressed that in 2021, N134 billion was budgeted for the National Assembly which now represents 0.98 per cent.
“For 2022, we are getting N134 billion again which represents 0.82 per cent, it ought not to be so.”
Contributing, Hon. Ben Igbakpa said the oil benchmark should be raised from $57 to $65 per barrel.
He suggested that the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy should be merged for not being effective.
Igbakpa stated: “We have issues with the youths, which make up about 80 million Nigerians and we have a ministry called Ministry of Science and Technology and another one called Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, we have not seen any impact from these two ministries since their existence because this recurrent expenditure we are talking about are because of all these ministries that are doing almost the same thing.”
On his part, Hon. Hassan Fulata was also of the opinion that the oil benchmark should be increased from $57 to $65, while the government should reduce borrowing.
In his submission, Hon. Bem Mzondu said the budget should address the issue of unemployment.
He explained that in 2020, Nigeria appropriated about N4.9 trillion for recurrent; in 2021 N5.6 trillion was appropriated; while in 2022 N6.8 trillion has been appropriated.
According to him, “If we look at this progression, it has been on the upward trend, whereas among the several MDAs, there’s an embargo on employment and we must make deliberate efforts to see that this budget addresses the issue of unemployment in the country. As we speak today, a lot of interventions that we budget for are handled by CBN, Nirsal loans and other interventions have not been able to address the issue of unemployment. It goes to say that this House must make deliberate efforts to look at this issue.”
The Green chamber however passed the Appropriation Bill for a second reading, while the plenary has been adjourned to November 9th so as to enable lawmakers and MDAs to engage in budget defence.