- The Senate President has defended the 2022 appropriation bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari
- Ahmad Lawan said borrowing is not bad provided the funds borrowed are put into good use by the government
- The Senate president also directed members of the various Senate committees to be up and doing while carrying out their oversight functions
Just six days after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2022 budget, the ninth Nigerian Senate has passed the appropriation bill for second reading.
The 2022 appropriation bill was passed by the lawmakers at the Red Chambers after over an hour of debate on its general principles, Daily Trust reports.
Speaking on the bill titled, Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability, some lawmakers expressed concerns over the increasing deficit on the bill.
During the debate, the senators decried the Nigerian government's affinity for excessive borrowing to fund most of the capital projects.
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Defending the magnitude of borrowing by the present administration to sustain the economy, some of the lawmakers called for alternative approaches like Public-Private Partnership for the sustenance of capital projects.
One of such senators is the lawmaker representing Rivers west senatorial district at the ninth Senate, Betty Apiafy.
Apiafy dismissed claims that the country was not borrowing to survive.
She said that the nation’s debt to revenue ratio at over 70 per cent is among the highest in Africa.
However, some other senators said there is nothing wrong with borrowing to fund capital projects.
According to these lawmakers, it is okay for the executive to borrow funds to build the needed infrastructure across Nigeria.
One of such senators is the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who said borrowing to fund capital projects is not bad.
The Senate president added that the most important thing is that the funds borrowed by the Nigerian government are judiciously deployed.
“Borrowing is not bad, but we need to ensure that what we borrow is judiciously deployed."
The Senate president also called on the committees of the National Assembly to be alive to their oversight responsibility by ensuring that all resources are used judiciously.
After scaling its second reading, the bill was referred to the committee on appropriations for due diligence and appropriate reporting in four weeks.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the 2022 Appropriation Bill was presented on the floor of the plenary to a joint session of lawmakers on Thursday, October 7.
The proposed budget was presented by Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari said that with an approved 2022 budget, his administration would be able to achieve an inclusive development process in Nigeria.
Also, the president of the Senate while receiving Buhari for the presentation of the budget said since the inception of the ninth Senate, the National Assembly has succeeded in maintaining a January to December cycle of budget.
Lawan said the Senate would also ensure that the passing of the budget is expedited in order not to break that cycle.