The Senate has approved Federal Government’s revenue projection of N8.36 trillion; and proposed expenditure of N13.98 trillion for the 2022 budget.
This was part of the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) passed by the Senate, ahead of the expected presentation of the 2022 Appropriations bill to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The passage of the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework followed the consideration and exhaustive deliberation of a report by the Joint Committees on Finance; Local and Foreign Debts; Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; Petroleum Resources (Upstream); Downstream Petroleum Sector and Gas.
The Joint Committee report was presented by Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), who chairs the Finance Committee.
The chamber during consideration of the report gave its nod to the Federal Government’s revenue projection of N8.36 trillion; and proposed expenditure of N13.98 trillion.
Accordingly, it also approved the daily crude oil production of 1.88mbpd, 2.23mbpd, and 2.22mbpd for 2022, 2023 and 2024, particularly “in view of average 1.93mbpd over the last 3 years and the fact that a very conservative oil output benchmark has been adopted for the medium term in order to ensure greater budget realism”.
The Senate in its recommendations approved the Benchmark oil price of USD$57 per barrel; adopted the Exchange Rate of N410.15/US$ by the Executive for 2022-2024; and gave its nod to the projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 4.20%; as well as 13% inflation rate.
In addition, the chamber approved fiscal deficit of N5.62 trillion; new borrowings of N4.89 trillion – an amount which includes Foreign and Domestic borrowing – subject to the provision of details of the borrowing plan to the National Assembly.
The Senate also approved other parameters such as Statutory transfers totaling N613.4 billion; Debt Service estimate of N3.12 trillion; Sinking Fund to the tune of N292 billion; Pension, Gratuities and Retirees Benefits of N567 billion.
Out of the Aggregate Federal Government’s Expenditure of N13.98 trillion, the upper chamber approved the sum of N6.12 trillion for Total Recurrent (Non-debt); N3.47 trillion as Personnel Cost for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); N3.26 trillion for Capital Expenditure (exclusive transfers); N350 billion Special Intervention (Recurrent); and N10 billion for Special Intervention (Capital).
The upper chamber in its report recommended that the Fiscal deficit estimate of N5.62 trillion also be sustained due to the Federal Government’s conservative approach to target setting and its determination to improve collection efficiency of major revenue generating agencies.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, has blamed past administration for Nigeria’s high level indebtedness.
He stated this on Wednesday during consideration of the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
According to the lawmaker, a huge part of Nigeria’s total debt profile roughly estimated at N33trillion naira were incurred by past administrations dating back to the military era.
He disclosed that majority of the loans being repaid presently by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration were ones accumulated from the times of the military to those of the PDP administration under Ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, between 1999 and 2015.
Senator Adeola disclosed this when asked by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to make clarifications on concerns raised by lawmakers, particularly over Nigeria’s debt profile during deliberation on the report of the Joint Committees on Finance; Local and Foreign Debts; Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; Petroleum Resources (Upstream); Downstream Petroleum Sector and Gas on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Framework.
Responding, Adeola said, “The borrowing you are saying is accumulated borrowing. It is not a borrowing of this administration alone, it is a borrowing that stems from the days of the military to the days when the Democratic dispensation started.
“It is an accumulated loan, it is not a loan that says that it is the current administration of President Buhari that has borrowed.
“It is a loan that has been borrowed by the previous administration – the Obasanjo, the Jonathan, the Yar’Adua of this world.
“[And] since the business of government is a continuum, the President of the day has no choice but to continue to pay back all these loans that have been borrowed by the previous administrations.
“More than three-quarter of these loans you’re seeing were borrowed from the previous administrations, and we are paying back – we are doing what is supposed to be done, the way it is supposed to be done.
“So, when my colleague said that for every sixty-seven naira of any loan that was borrowed, we are using to pay, he should know that more than sixty naira of it are loans borrowed by previous administration. And that is where we are.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks blamed Nigeria’s economic predicament on the failure of past governments to prioritize the provision of critical infrastructure.
According to him, the situation has left the present administration with no other viable option but to seek external borrowing to fund capital expenditures in the national budget.