The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has passed the 2019 appropriation bill of N8.82 trillion submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari for second reading.
It scaled second reading at the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday, about three months after the bill was presented.
The budget has a recurrent expenditure of N4 trillion while N2 trillion was earmarked for capital expenditure with N2.2 trillion and N492 billion for debt servicing and statutory transfers respectively.
Senator representing Abia Central, Enyinnaya Abaribe, described the appropriation bill as a “budget of impossibilities” saying statistics show Nigeria is still being held down by more debt.
“With a total debt service of 25.7% and capital budget at 23%, it means we are paying more debt. Out of every one naira, 68 kobo is paid out. The federal government needs to go back to the drawing board,” he said.
On his part, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce who represents Bayelsa East Senatorial District, noted that compared to those of previous years, there is nothing new in the 2019 budget.
“The budget is not different from what we have been presented in the last 4 years,” he said, adding: “Recurrent expenditure of N4 trillion is too high. There are government agencies set up that have no value. These agencies must be scrapped.”
President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki subsequently referred the budget to the committee on appropriation. The committee is expected to present its report ton the upper legislative chamber in two weeks.