Buhari moves to ‘unpad’ budget, writes Senate for supplementary budget, virement

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President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.
President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

In an unprecedented move toward transferring funds for projects inserted by members of National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate, seeking supplementary budget in the sum of N254 billion (N254,445,322,600) to prosecute the 2019 general elections.

While signing the 2018 on June 20, Mr Buhari criticised the National Assembly for reducing allocations for some projects and inserting thousands of projects into the budget without consultation with the Executive.

The president said, “The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

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“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.

“Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualised, designed and cost and will, therefore, be difficult to execute.”

But in a letter titled, ‘Request for virement and supplementary 2018 budget,’ the president urged the lawmakers to remove projects earlier inserted into the 2018 budget and replace them with priority projects as contained in the original bill.

He insisted that he would not submit a supplementary budget to fund the priority projects.

The letter made public on Tuesday contained the supplementary budget of N242 billion (N242,445,322, 600) to fund six agencies in the 2019 general elections. Out of the total sum, N164 billion (N164,104,792,065) will be drawn from the 2018 supplementary budget while N78 billion (N78,314,530,535) will form part of the 2019 budget of these agencies.

The full letter…

Request for virement and supplementary 2018 budget

As you are aware, the 2019 general election is scheduled to be conducted early in 2019. To ensure that adequate arrangements are made for free and fair election, it has become necessary to appropriate funds to enable the relevant agencies to commence preparations.

INEC and the security agencies have accordingly recently submitted their requests and these have been subjected to the usual budget evaluation. The aggregate cost of the election is estimated at N254, 445, 322,600. However, in line with the prevailing fiscal I’m proposing that the sum of N164, 104, 792, 65 be provided for through virement or supplementation of the 2018 budget. I propose that the balance of N78, 340, 530, 535 mostly related to personnel allowances, fuelling and other costs not required until election proper be provided in their 2019 budget.

The proposal for the 2019 election is as summarised below:

INEC

2018 supplementary – N143, 512, 529, 445

2019 budget – N45, 695, 015,438

Total: N189, 207, 544, 893

Office of the National Security Adviser

2018 supplementary – N3, 855, 500, 000

2019 budget – 426, 000, 000

Total – 4, 281, 500,000

DSS

2018 supplementary – N2, 903, 638, 000

2019 budget – N9,309,644,455

Total – N12, 213, 282, 455

NSCDC

2018 supplementary – N1, 845, 597, 000

2019 budget – N1, 727, 997, 500

Total – N3, 573, 534, 500

Nigeria Police

2018 supplementary – N11, 457, 417, 432

2019 budget – N19, 083, 900, 000

Total – N30, 541, 317, 432

NIS

2018 supplementary – N530, 110, 078

2019 budget – N2, 098,033, 142

Total – N2, 628, 143, 320

Total amount (for 2019 election)

2018 supplementary – N164, 104, 792, 065

2019 budget – N78, 314, 530, 535

Total – N242, 445, 322, 600

You will also recall that when I signed the 2018 appropriation act, I indicated the need for reinstatement of certain cuts made to certain critical projects provided in the original executive bill. I’m therefore submitting for your consideration the reinstatement of most of the most critical of such cuts totalling N67, 742, 216, 150 which are summarised in page one. The total amount required to be provided for in the 2018 budget for the 2019 general election and to restore the identified critical projects to the amount earlier proposed is therefore N228, 854, 800, 250. Implementing a budget of N9.12 trillion for 2018 would be extremely challenging and therefore, I do not consider it expedient to propose a further increase to the size of the 2018 expenditure framework to fund these very important and critical expenditure items.

Accordingly, I invite the distinguished senate to consider, in the national interest, relocating some of the funds appropriated for the new projects which were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal totalling N 578, 319, 951, 904 to cover the sum of N228, 854, 800, 205 required as noted above.

A schedule sitting out a comprehensive list of these inserted projects is attached to this letter for ease of your consideration.

Further to the above, kindly find attached a supplementary budget and virement proposal for your consideration.

While hoping that this request will expeditious consideration of the distinguished senate, please accept, Mr Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Muhammadu Buhari