BY Abubakar Shehu Usman
Like what looks like a drama, president Mohammadu Buhari while signing into law the 2022 budget described the document as unimplementable.
In the budget, the Buhari led federal government while presenting it before the joint session of the National Assembly on October 7th 2021, prioritized spending on defence and security, infrastructure and education with the sectors getting a combined 5.15trillion naira in the over 16 trillion naira 2022 budget.
From the proposal, defence and security got 2.41trillion naira, representing 15percent, infrastructure 1.45trillion naira, representing 8.9percent, education 1.29 trillion naira, representing 7.9percent, health got 820billion naira, representing 5percent, while social development and poverty eradication got 863billion representing 5.3percent of the entire budget as contained in the breakdown recently by Nigeria’s minister of finance Dr Shamsuna Ahmad.
A breakdown of the 16.39trillion naira estimated budget showed that recurrent spending for the projected year is 6.83trillion naira, representing 41.7percent of the total expenditure and18.5percent higher than the 2021 budget.
Capital projects on the other hand got 5.35 trillion naira, representing 32.7percent of the total expenditure, inclusive of capital components of statutory transfers, government-owned enterprises capital and project tied loans expenditure.
After their usual legislative scrutiny, Nigerian lawmakers increased the budget from the initial 16.39trillion naira to 17.1trillion naira in what president Mohammadu Buhari described as an “unimplementable budget”.
He however signed the budget but questioned the worrisome changes made by the lawmakers.
Some of the worrisome changes are, increase in projected FGN independent Revenue by 400billion naira, the justification for which is yet to be provided to the executive.
Reduction of the provision for sinking fund to retire maturing bonds by 22billion naira without explanation, reduction of the provisions for the non-regular allowances of the Nigerian police force and the Nigerian Navy by 15billion naira and five billion naira respectively.
Furthermore, an increase of 21.72billion naira in the overhead budgets of some MDAS, while the sum of 1.96billion naira was cut from the provision for some MDAS. without apparent justification, an increase in the provision of for capital spending by a net amount of 5.47trillion naira and never the less, provisions for some critical projects were reduced among others.
Most of the projects were inserted by the lawmakers without the consent of Mr President which ignited the disturbing statement related to matters that are basically the responsibilities of state and local governments and do not appear to have been properly conceptualized, designed and cost.
Many more projects have been added to the budget of some MDAS with no consideration for the institutional capacity to execute the additional projects and or for incremental recurrent expenditure that may require.
It is surprising therefore that despite the National Assembly increasing projected revenue by 609.27billion naira, the additional executive request of 186.53billion Naira for critical expenditure items could not be accommodated without increasing the deficit, while the sum of 550.59billion naira from the projected incremental revenues was allocated at the discretion of the National Assembly and yet president Mohammadu Buhari went ahead and signed a budget he personally described as ” unimplementable”.
President Mohammadu Buhari formally assented to the 2022 budget on December 31st 2021 making it a working document, Nigerians would now watch to see the implementation of an “unimplemented 2022 budget”.