Senate approves N214bn Virement fund for Buhari 

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The Senate has approved the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to amend the 2016 budget by re-assigning N180.8 billion to critical recurrent and capital items and increasing the amount to to N213,821,671,494. This followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Appropriations led by Senator representing Gombe Central, Danjuma Goje, at the plenary.

Buhari had last month written to the National Assembly, requesting that a total of N180bn be approved as virement of funds appropriated in the 2016 Appropriation Act; to attend to some critical capital and recurrent expenditures. The Senate considered the request and referred it to its committee on Appropriations for further legislative action.

Goje, while presenting the report on Tuesday, said, “the committee met with its House counterpart and deliberated on the course of action in order to abridge time. And also jointly had an interactive meeting with the affected MDAs on the virement, that is, the source of the funds and the expenditure MDAs in the Budget to clarify the need for the virement”.

Explaining why the requested sum was jacked up to N213,821,671,494, he stated that “the affected MDAs justified the need for intervention in their respective Agencies and some also made the point that the amount proposed in the request was inadequate to meet the observed shortfall required to carry out their mandate and financial obligations.

“In the course of the interaction with the MDAs, the committee observed that there are other areas of critical need that are capable of stimulating the economy which additional funds can still be provided with monies vired from the Special Intervention Programme,” he added.

An analysis of the Committee’s report shows that the Senate approved the sum of N167,113,304,018 for recurrent expenditures as against the N165,430,886,954 requested for in Buhari’s letter. It went on to approve the sum of N2,500,000,000 as Statutory Transfer in the Public Complaints Commission, PCC, salary shortfall, instead of N1,200,000,000 requested by the President.

Another look at the report shows that the President requested for the sum of N14,208,367,476 as capital expenditure for Nigerian Air Force, NAF, and Presidential Initiative for the North East, PINE, but the Upper Chamber approved the sum of N39,208,367,476.

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