NASS Considers N895bn Weapons, Anti-terror Supplementary Budget
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday read an official communication from President Muhammadu Buhari asking the National Assembly to approve a supplementary budget of N895bn.
The amount had earlier been approved by the Federal Executive Council.
A large chunk of the money is meant to fund the procurement of military hardware to prosecute the war against insurgency and banditry.
The Federal Government is also expected to spend the remaining amount on health-related issues.
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan read Buhari’s letter at the commencement of Tuesday’s plenary following its resumption from a two-week break.
Buhari’s letter read in part, “The supplementary budget request is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917.
“We propose to fund N45.63bn of the N83.56bn required for the COVID-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans which will be a structured as well as other grants totalling $113.2m.
“The balance of N37.93bn required for COVID-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditure totalling N41.6bn and N48.2bn recurrent component of defence and security will be funded by borrowing N135bn from some special reserve levy accounts.
“We propose to fund the balance of N722.4bn for capital expenditure on defence and security and capital supplementation from new borrowings in the absence of any supplementary revenue sources.”
Buhari said it had become necessary to prepare the 2021 supplementary appropriation bill considering the urgent need to make provision for procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
He said 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.
The President said the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency had now developed a COVID-19 vaccine programme for the country.
Under the vaccine programme, he said, 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians would be vaccinated between 2021 and 2022.
In addition, he added, the security and law enforcement agencies urgently needed to procure additional equipment and other resources in response to the prevalent security challenges across the country.
He said the Ministry of Defence had carefully scrutinised the procurement needs which the military authorities claimed to represent the minimum requirement to secure the country and address current internal and external security challenges.