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The Upper Legislative Chamber has on Tuesday, November 29, finally approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to alter the ‎2016 budget by re-assigning N180.8 billion to critical recurrent and capital items.
The Chamber’s approval ‎followed the presentation of a report by the Joint Committee on Appropriations, led by Senator Danjuma Goje, during Tuesday’s plenary.
Meanwhile, in another development, the senate also approved President Buhari’s request to use part of the N500 billion special intervention fund for other purposes.
Buhari had earmarked N500 billion in the budget for social programmes.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, ‎speaking during plenary, ‎urged the Senate to approve the request, but added that the process through which the President brought the proposal was unconstitutional.
‎He said the President ought to have brought a supplementary budget and not a request to alter the 2016 budget (Virement).
“Virement is not known to the constitution. It is a military terminology,” he said.
Recall, that in October, Buhari had written to the Senate, asking for a transfer of funds appropriated for special intervention in the 2016 budget to other exigent items.
According to the request, the President said the amount of money appropriated in the 2016 budget for the mobilisation of corps members this year was inadequate.
The President speaking further, cited shortfalls in the provisions of personnel costs, inadequate provision abnitio for some items like the amnesty programme, continuing requirements to sustain the war against insurgency and depreciation of the naira as the reasons for his request to the Upper Legislative Chamber.
He said, “I write to request for the virement of funds appropriated for special intervention (recurrent) and special intervention (capital) to fund some critical recurrent and capital items,” the president wrote.


“This request has risen due to a number of reasons, including shortfalls in provisions for personnel costs, inadequate provision abnitio for some items like the amnesty programme, continuing requirements to sustain the war against insurgency, and depreciation of the naira.
“However, considering the fact that the budgeted revenues are running behind target largely due to 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 heads and sub-heads that may not be fully utilised before the end of the year.
“The security-related lines in the service wide vote, specifically operations internal for the armed forces (N13 billion) and operation Lafiya Dole (N8 billion) have been totally released while the Nigerian air force needs about (N12, 708, 367, 476) to cover the foreign exchange differentials in the procurement of its critical capabilities.
“The contingency vote of N12 billion has a balance of only N1, 827, 570, 443. It is considered necessary to augment this vote in the light of frequently emerging contingencies.
“Only N20 Billion (already fully released) was provided in the 2016 budget for the Niger Delta amnesty programme. Consequently, the allowances to ex-militants have only been paid up to May 2016. This is creating a lot of restiveness and compounding the security challenges in the Niger Delta,” the President said.
Speaking on NYSC matters, the President said, ‎“The provision for NYSC in the 2016 budget is inade‎quate to cater for the number of corpers to be mobilised this year.
“In fact, an additional N8.5bn is required to cover the backlog of 129, 469 corps members who are currently due for call-up, but would otherwise be left out till next year due to funding constraints.”
“Similarly, the provision Stated for meal subsidy for unity colleges is inadequate for the number of students in the schools,”‎ the President added.

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