A  bill seeking to amend the 2022 Appropriation Act, Wednesday, got a boost as it scaled second reading in the Senate.

The bill sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North), seeks to amend the 2022 budget by making provision in the sum of N106,161,499,052 for Capital Expenditures and N43,870,592,044 for recurrent without increasing budget deficit. 

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a letter to the National Assembly dated February 10, 2022, stressed the need for the removal of all capital projects that were replicated in the 2022 Appropriation Act. 

Buhari, who disclosed that 139 of the 254 projects in the budget totalling N13.24 billion had been identified for deletion, also requested that an additional provision for N2.557 trillion be appropriated by the National Assembly to fund the petrol subsidy in the 2022 Budget Framework, which was revised to provide fully for Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, subsidy. 

In his lead debate on the general principles of the 2022 Appropriations Act Amendment bill, Abdullahi gave key highlights of the amendment to include 11 areas such as funding to cushion the impacts of the recent suspension of the PMS subsidy removal; and addressing the adverse implications that some changes made in the 2022 Appropriation Act could have for the successful implementation of the budget.

Others include restoring the provisions made for various key projects in the 2022 budget proposal to ensure that critical projects that are cardinal to the administration were implemented and to ensure that those nearing completion do not suffer setback due to reduced funding; Re-instating the N25.18 billion cut from the provision for the Power Sector Reform Programme; Re-instating the four Capital Projects totaling N1.42 billion in the Executive Proposal for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources; restoring the N3 billion cut from the provision made for payment of mostly long outstanding Local Contractors’ Debts; and transferring the National Assembly’s expenditures totaling N16.59 billion in the Service Wide Vote to National Assembly Statutory Transfer provision.

In his contribution, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue), who  bemoaned the high tax expenditure in the 2922 budget, said: “Tax expenditures are waivers that are given to individuals or companies.

“Mr. President, if you look at the tax expenditure in 2022, it is about N1 trillion and totally unnecessary. 

“It is not just what the president has sent here, let us consider those areas that can help them save money, because we might decide to step down those tax expenditures.”

In his remark after the bill scaled second reading, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, thereafter referred same to the Committee on Appropriation for further work. 

The committee was given one week to report back to the chamber in plenary.