The House of Representatives has approved the 2015 supplementary budget of N465.64 billion as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari had in a letter on Wednesday separately sent to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, request for the amendment to the 2015 fiscal framework which included: reduction in the oil production volume from 2.2782mbpd to 2.2003mbpd; crude oil price from $53 per barrel to $48 per barrel but retained $190 exchange rate.
From the recurrent expenditure, N10,618,837,435 is for payment of outstanding payment of severance gratuity and allowances of outgone and incoming legislators and legislative aides; N3,196,089,405 is for salaries of Nigerian Army including N1,987,056,478 for 72 recruitments, N768,637,124 for 62 regular combatant and N440,395,803 for 22 direct short service.
Presenting the bill for deliberation before theHouse, leader of the House Leader, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila (APC Lagos), said in line with constitution the Federal Government it is in order that a supplementary budget has been brought before the House.
“The calculations went wrong and there is a short fall in the non oil sector, there is the need to approve funds for subsidies as a responsive and responsible legislature, “he said.
According to him, the approval of this supplementary budget will further enhance the fight against the insurgency.
He argued that the reasons why the supplementary budget is necessary was because it will fund the “Operation Lafiya Dole”, provisions of prison rations and feeding of unity schools, provision of the balance of severance, gratuity and allowances of out gone and incoming legislators, aides and emergency provision for subsidy claims.
Contributing to the debate, Rep Tahir Monguno (APC Borno), said that the supplementary budget if passed, will help fund the military in curbing the growing spate of the insurgency. He said by this, the government would be adequately taking care of its responsibilities.
On his part, Rep Zakari Mohammad (APC Kwara), said it is necessary for the House to pass the bill because of the economic hardship which is telling on the general populace especially the fuel scarcity as a result of nonpayment of petroleum subsidy to the marketers and this will be a way to cushion this hardship.
The debate took another turn when Rep Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (PDP Anambra), in her submission queried the implementation of the 2015 and what has been done so far with it.
She argued that there was no need for a supplementary budget because 31st December is far approaching emphasising that the 2015 budget as approved has not been exhausted.
Minority leader, Rep Leo Ogor (PDP Delta), towing the line of Onyejeocha was barely allowed to speak and was accused by Gbajabiamila for misleading the House on the matter.
Intervening in the situation the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said that the matter was not supposes to divide the House along party lines but instead unite the House to pursue a common good for the ordinary man.
Dogara said if passing the budget will not affect the common man positively then there was no need.
After putting it to a voice vote, the Speaker in his ruling referred the bill to the committee on appropriations.