The House of Representatives has rejected the N4.79bn budgetary allocation for a presidential yacht contained in the N2.176trn supplementary budget for the 2023 financial year transmitted to it on Tuesday by President Bola Tinubu.
In passing the supplementary budget on Thursday, the House moved the sum proposed for the yacht to student loan, bringing the total sum for the scheme to N10bn up from the initial N5.5bn, reports The PUNCH.
Abubakar Bichi, who heads the House Appropriation Committee, stated this while addressing journalists after plenary today.
“As far as we are concerned, we don’t need the presidential yacht anymore.
“We have increased the student Loan. If you can recall, the student loan was N5 bn in the budget, but now we have increased it from N5bn to N10bn so that our students will be able to access that facility for them to be able to go to school and to be able to afford them,” the lawmaker said.
Bichi added that the committee increased the budgetary allocation of the Ministry of Defence from the initial allocation of N476bn to N546bn.
According to him, the four-month wage award of N210bn for workers was considered and approved for onward transmission to the President for implementation.
He pledged adequate legislative oversight to ensure 100 per cent implementation.
The sum of N100bn was retained for the Federal Capital Territory as requested.
The lawmaker said, “Today, our committee has submitted our report, and the House after careful consideration, approved our submission and the breakdown is as follows:
“As you know, the budget is about N2.177 trn and the Ministry of Defence has N456bn but currently, they have the largest share because we know how important our security is. As you are aware, we interacted with them yesterday and they requested additional funding so that they can continue their work.
“So, we have increased their budget from N476 to N546bn.
“Then Police Formation and Command, we gave them N50bn while the FCT has about N100 bn. You know FCT is very important to us because we want to make sure FCT can compete with any city in the world.
“Office of the National Security Adviser, we know how important that office is. Initially, the allocation was N27bn but currently, we have increased their budget to N50bn.
“The initial budget for the State House was N28bn and we still maintain their figure at N28bn as well.
“Ministry of Agriculture, you know how important that ministry is, you are talking about food security, and of course, it’s critical to our people across the nation.
“So, we have maintained their initial figure of N200bn as well.
“You know how serious the housing deficit in this country is and in Mr President’s agenda, he wants to build as many houses as he can. So, we have approved N100 bn for the Ministry of Housing.”
The approval of the supplementary budget today followed the consideration and approval of the report of the Committee on Appropriations.
The report titled, “A Bill for an Act to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the total sum of N2,176,791,286,033 for the year ending 31 December 2023” was laid by Bichi.
Tinubu, in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, asked the lawmakers to speedily pass the supplementary budget to aid the government in dishing out palliatives and other essential services to Nigerians.
As a result, the executive bill (budget) was slated for a second reading and it was passed and referred to the Committee on Appropriations for further legislative action.
Out of the total of N2.176 trn approved, N18 billion is for statutory transfers, N992.8bn is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure while the sum of N1.165 trn is for contribution to the Development Fund for capital expenditure.