FG Debunks 2024 Budget  Padding Allegation 

..says it presented N27.5trn to NASS  ….NASS passed N28.77trn ...justifies increase

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…says it presented N27.5trn to NASS

….NASS passed N28.77trn

…justifies increas5

The federal government has said there is nothing like padding of the 2024 budget which was signed into law by the President on January 1 2024.

Minister of Budget and Economic Planning,  Senator Abdubakar Atiku Bagudu who disclosed this yesterday during a media conference in Abuja, noted that the federal government presented a budget proposal of N27.5 trillion to the National Assembly, but the legislators in their wisdom decided to increase it to N28.77 trillion, an action he described as a normal practice.

Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central, had claimed in an interview granted to the BBC Hausa Service on Saturday that the 2024 budget was padded with about N3 trillion, as according to him,  what was passed by the National Assembly was N25 trillion and not the N28.77 trillion signed by the President.

That allegation which has earned him suspension, has generated a lot of controversy forcing the Senate to explain that the N3 trillion allegedly added to the 2024 budget was statutory transfers to first-line charge agencies of government not domiciled in the ministries.

Senator Bagudu explained that when it comes to the issue of appropriation in a normal democracy,  the legislature has the final word. According to him, “They have the right to increase a budget line because when we submit a budget, it is distributed to committees, those committees may feel there is a need for adjustment based on the needs of the sector they are overseeing.

“Again when we presented the budget, we presented it at an exchange rate of N750/dollar, the National Assembly adjusted the exchange rate to N800/dollar and that created more revenue.

The National Assembly also directed that government owned enterprises (GOEs) should also contribute revenue to the federal government and that is the source of the additional funding for the budget.”

The minister said the additional  money was used to increase the budget of the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.

On constituency projects, Bagudu said, “We have heard media reports of projects beyond what has been submitted by the executive in the proposal, that often is the case in a democracy that is evolving like ours.

“There is a lot of demands, all elected persons, particularly those in the legislature are elected by constituencies who make several demands on them. It is not an unusual phenomena, it is in all democracies, and they are under pressure to respect the wishes of their people by ensuring that part of public spending in a year affects their constituencies.

He said it is not within the powers of the executive to determine how much is allocated to constituency projects, adding that money for constituency projects is not that money given to members of the National Assembly, “it is just for them to nominate a project in their constituency,” he said.

“The National Assembly decides how the nomination process is shared among the members. But beyond all of this, I think what is important is for Nigerians to pile pressure such that any project that finds its way into our budget is implemented.

“In the 2024 budget, we have a number of innovative provisions in order to pay attention to areas of our national life which are a priority to our president and which quite often have not received the right attention.

“These provisions include, the N100 billion to support consumer credit, the N100 billion National Agricultural development fund, the N65 billion mortgage development Fund, the N100 billion clean energy transition Fund and an additional N50 billion to support the student loan Fund.”

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