Ways and Means: Senate passes N22.9 trillion presidential request after 4 months delay
After four months delay, the Nigeria Senate on Wednesday passed the sum of N22.71 trillion ‘Ways and Means’ spending incurred by the executive arm of government along with N180.463 billion interest incurred, totalling N22.900 trillion .
Ways and Means are loans or advances given by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Government to enable it cater for short term or emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipt of deficit. com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">
President Muhammadu Buhari had in December 2022, forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly for approval, N23.7 trillion Ways and Means Spending, out of which N819.536 billion was targeted to be part of N1trillion earmarked for execution of critical capital projects in the 2022 fiscal year.
While both the Senate and the House of Representatives, approved the N819.536 billion component of the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means approval request, they refused to consider the over N21 trillion balance spendings made.
Consequently, the Senate in January this year, set up a special committee headed by the leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir representing APC Sokoto East, to interface with relevant offices and officials of the executive for detailed explanations on how the money was spent.
Senator Gobir in his presentation of the report adopted by the Senate said: ” The Ways and Means balance was initially N19,326,745,239,660.20 as at 30 June, 2022 but later grew to N22,719,704,774,306.90 as at 19th December, 2022 as a result of financial obligations to the on-going capital projects and additional expenditures which includes domestic debt service gaps and interest rate.
“That the Senate on Wednesday, 28th December, 2022, approved the sum of N819, 536,937,813 of the one trillion naira additional request made by Mr. President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces leaving an outstanding balance of N180,463,062,187 being the accrued interest on the sum.
“That the House of Representatives earlier approved the additional one trillion naira Ways and Means Advances requested by Mr. President CommanderIn-Chief of the Armed Forces to enable the smooth implementation of the supplementary budget.
“That part of the Ways and Means monies were given to State Governments as loans to augment budgetary short fall in their various States etc”.
He added that the Special Committee after exhaustive deliberations, recommends as follows: (1) That the restructuring sum of N22, 719,703,774,306.90 (Twenty-Two Trillion Seven Hundred and Nineteen Billion Seven Hundred and Three Million Seven Hundred and Seventy-four Thousand Three Hundred and Six Naira Ninety Kobo) only for Ways and Means Advances be approved because the advances were made to ensure that the government does not shutdown;
“( 2) That the Senate further approve the sum of %180,463,062,187 (One Hundred and Eighty Billion Four Hundred and Sixty Three Million Sixty Two Thousand One Hundred and Eighty Seven Naira) only being the balance of the supplementary budget and the interest accrued on the Ways and Means
( 3)That if there Is a need to exceed the 5% threshold of the prior year’s revenue, recourse must be made to the National Assembly for approval;
(4)That the Federal Government should begin the process of recovering the portion of the Ways and Means given as the loans to State Governments as further deferment of the repayment of the loans by the States will not be healthy for the economy;
(5) That the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning , should expedite action on the repayment of the loans through treasury bilis and bond issuances; and
” (6) That the National Assembly will not condone future increase in the Ways and Means without seeking the approval of the National Assembly.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan in his remarks after the approval said though approval for Ways and Means request by the executive from the legislature, are not peculiar to Nigeria but procedures and processes for that must be followed henceforth.
“The one approved today was done for national interest and national emergency . Any other requests of such , must follow the laid down procedures and processes”, he said.
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