The 2022 Appropriation Bill has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.
The House passed the budget on Thursday after debate on its general principles for two days.
It thereafter adjourned plenary for three weeks to enable committees hold budget defence sessions with ministries, departments and agencies.
At the resumption of debate on Thursday, Wale Raji (APC, Lagos) faulted the proposed exchange rate in the bill.
He noted that the N410.15 to a Dollar is a further devaluation of the Naira. The lawmaker argued that the government should move to strengthen the Naira, not weaken it the more.
According to Mr Raji, a weakened Naira will “further impoverish Nigerians as the country is an import-dependent economy and devaluation of its currency over the years has not benefitted the people in any way.”
He added: “It has led to high rate of inflation, drastic reduction in the purchasing power of the citizens, increased cost of doing business, corruption and brain drain, particularly among our highly skilled professionals. Rather than this continued devaluation of our currency, I recommend that efforts should be geared towards strengthening of the Naira.”
Also, he called for the scrutiny of the petroleum subsidy operation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“The freedom presently enjoyed by NNPC to determine the cost of importing petrol and deducting same from the country’s oil revenue account has been a source of concern to Nigerians”, he said.
Speaking on the budget, Babajide Obanikoro (APC, Lagos) called for increment in the allocation to the development of the Mines and Steel sector. He also called for the review of the allocation to the education sector.
Ben Mzondu (PDP, Benue) said the embargo by the government on recruitment into the civil service is contributing to the rising insecurity in the country.
“As we speak there is a general embargo on employment, we must be disciplined enough to ensure that government cut unnecessary spending in their recurrent expenditure,”
Ben Igbakpa (PDP, Delta) raised concern about the use of funds in the Excess crude account by the executive.
Other lawmakers, who spoke, include Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau), Ahamd Satomi (APC, Borno), Olanrewaju Oladapo (APC, Ogun), Chiwere Igwe, Oguma Johnson (APC, Edo), Uyime Idem (PDP, Akwa-Ibom), Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau) and others.
After the two days of debate on the N16.39 trillion budget, when the deputy speaker, Idris Wase, who presided at the end of the session, put the motion to question, the “ayes had it.”
The bill was referred to the committee on appropriation for further legislative action.
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