THE House of Representatives on Wednesday began the consideration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the virement of N180,839,254,430 for the implementation of critical capital projects in the 2016 budget.
The amount being vired, according to Buhari’s request is to be drawn from the N500 billion Special Intervention (recurrent and capital) fund, appropriated in the 2016 Appropriations Act
The House at the plenary resolved to refer the request to the Committee on Appropriations and other relevant committees to serve as sub-committees of the Committee on Appropriations for further legislative action.
The resolution followed the adoption of the motion sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader, who explained that the “request was necessitated by a number of reasons, including shortfalls in provisions of personnel cost, the inadequate provision for the amnesty programme, the need to sustain the war against insurgency and the depreciation of the naira.”
According to him, “in the course of implementing the Appropriation Act, 2016, several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) presented issues pertaining to salary shortfalls as it affects the MDAs that are not under the platform of Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and some MDAs that are under the IPPIS platform would be locked out as their personnel cost budget would not cover salaries for the rest of the year.”
Buhari had in the letter dated October 24, 2016, and sent to Speaker Yakubu Dogara, disclosed that the sum of N71,800,215,270 is for Public Service Wage Adjustment; N35 billion is for amnesty programme, while N19,792,018,400 is for mobilisation of corps members.
Other request N14,667,230,014 for foreign missions; N13,933,093,000 is for Operation Lafiya Dole; N12,708,367,476 is for Nigerian Air Force; N5,205,930,270 is for Internal Operations of the Armed Forces; N2 billion for margin of increase in cost while N1.5 billion is for Presidential Initiative on North East.
Under the contingency subhead, the sum of N1.2 billion is for salary shortfall for public complaints commission; N932,400,000 is for Cadet Feeding of Police Academy, Kano while N900 million is for augmentation of meal subsidy for unity colleges.
According to Buhari, the request for virement, was premised on “the fact that budgeted revenues are running behind target largely due to the renewed violence in the Niger Delta, and there are no supplementary revenue sources, the most viable option for now is the virement of appropriated funds from head or sub-heads that may not be fully utilised before the end of this fiscal year.”
The President also noted that amounts for the Special Intervention Programme “are not likely to be fully utilised this year,” adding that it took some time to work out proper operational modalities for its operations.
He, however, assured that full provision would be made for the programme in the 2017 budget.
Recall that during the 2016 budget defence, chairman, senate committee on appropriations, Danjuma Goje, had advised the executive to shelve the programme and reintroduce it in the 2017 budget.