Pass budget For Second Reading
Members of the House of Representatives expressed significant worry on Thursday about the Naira’s latent depreciation as a result of the exchange rate benchmark imposed by the Federal government in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
On Thursday, during a debate on the general principles of the bill, the Chairman of the House Services Committee, Hon. Olawale Tasir Raji (APC. Lagos), drew the attention of his colleagues to the danger of the exchange rate pegged at more than N400/$1 in the coming months, describing the trend as worisome and detrimental to the common man.
“Mr. Speaker, the 2022 budget is on an exchange rate of $410.15 per US Dollar ($). This is a clear official devaluation of the Naira (§). This is bound to further impoverish Nigerians.
“Nigeria is an import dependent economy and devaluation of our currency over the years has not benefitted our people in any way. 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, | recommend that efforts should be geared towards strengthening of the Naira,” Hon. Raji argued.
However, following the conclusion of debate, the House on Thursday passed the 2022 appropriation bill of N16.39 trillion for second reading referring it to the appropriation committee for further legislative action.
The Senate, had also on Wednesday, passed the 2022 Appropriation Bill for second reading after over one hour of debate on its general principles.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday last week presented a N16.39 trillion budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year.
The N16.39 trillion proposed budget has N768.28 for Statutory Transfers; N6.83 trillion for Non-debt Recurrent Costs; and N4.11 trillion for Personnel Costs, among others.
The budget has a deficit of N6.26 trillion, an amount representing 3.39 per cent of estimated GDP.
Contributing to debate yesterday, Yusuf Gagdi emphasised the need for thorough scrutiny of the budget to ensure it aligns with needs and aspirations of the Nigerian people.
On his part, Gudaji Kazaure urged the executive arm to block all financial leakages and utilise recovered looted funds judiciously in funding deficit in the 2022 budget.
Reps Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu in his contribution called for inclusion of climate change and ecological challenges in the budget to address such problems.