The Senate on Tuesday received President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the approval of the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill of N895.8 billion.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, read Mr Buhari’s letter at the commencement of Tuesday’s plenary following its resumption from a two-week break.
The letter reads: Dear Distinguished Senate President, submission of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021.
“It is with pleasure that I forward herewith, Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021 for the kind consideration and approval by the Senate.
“The supplementary budget request is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917.
“We propose to fund N45.63 billion of the N83. 56 billion required for the COVID-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans which will be structured as well as other grants totalling 113.2 million US dollars.
“The balance of N37. 93 billion required for COVID-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditures totalling N41.6 billion and N48.2 billion recurrent components of defence and security will be funded by borrowing N135 billion from some special reserve levy accounts.
“We propose to fund the balance of N722.4 billion for capital expenditure on defense and security and capital supplementation from new borrowings in the absence of any supplementary revenue sources.
“It has become necessary to prepare the 2021 supplementary appropriation bill considering the urgent need to make provision for procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the procurement terms was still uncertain as at the time of finalising the 2021 budget, hence, there was no provision in the 2021 Appropriation Act for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
“However, the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency have now developed a COVID-19 vaccine programme for the country.
“Under the vaccine programme, 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians are to be vaccinated between 2021 and 2022.
“In addition, our security and law enforcement agencies urgently need to procure additional equipment and other resources in response to the prevalent security challenges across the country.
“The Ministry of Defence has carefully scrutinised these procurement needs which the military authorities claim to represent the minimum requirement to secure our country and address current internal and external security challenges.
“Furthermore, additional funds are required to meet our commitment to treat additional 50, 000 patients under the Nigerian Comprehensive Aids Programmes in States (NCAPS) as the amount provision in the 2021 appropriation bill for this purpose was inexplicably cut by the National Assembly.
“In order to address the urgent problem of oxygen availability in the country and avoid the potential loss of lives, provision was made for the procurement and installation of new oxygen plants nationwide and repairs of oxygen plants in FCT hospitals.
“It is also necessary to provide additional funds for public service-wide wage adjustments to cater for sundry wage related issues in the health and other sectors which if not resolved can add to the prevalence of instability in the polity.
“Understandably, this currently abounds in many other sectors.
“However, we have limited the supplementary budget proposal to just these critical and emergency areas of need due to our severe financial fiscal constraints.
“All other means will be deferred to the 2022 budget which we plan to present in September of this year.
“Given the urgency of the request, I seek the cooperation of the National Assembly for expeditious legislative action on the supplementary appropriation bill 2021.”
Credit: People’s Gazette