After months of waiting, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, sent a request to the National Assembly seeking the approval of N895, 842, 465, 917 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.
The supplementary budget, LEADERSHIP gathered, will help in providing arms and ammunition to the Nigerian security agencies to execute the war against kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.
Senate president Ahmad Lawan and the chairman of Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, (Borno South) had said the armed forces have no excuse to fight against terrorists and bandits if the National Assembly approved the supplementary budget. The bill was transmitted alongside a letter dated June 15, 2021, and addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
Buhari, in the letter which was read during the commencement of the plenary, explained that the amount was proposed to fund the COVID-19 vaccine programme. He said part of the supplementary budget would be used to fund health-related expenditures for the treatment of additional 50,000 patients under the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Program in states. It will also procure additional equipment captured in this year’s capital expenditure on defence and security to tackle prevalent security challenges across the country.
The letter reads: “Let me seize this opportunity, to express my deep gratitude, for the cooperation and support, of the Leadership and Distinguished Members of the Senate, in our collective efforts to contain the COVID-19 Pandemic and address the various security and other challenges facing the country. “It has become necessary to prepare the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill considering the urgent need to make provision for procurement and administration of COVlD-19 vaccines.
“The availability of COVlD-19 vaccines and the procurement terms were still uncertain as at the time of finalising the 2021 budget. Hence, there was no provision in the 2021 Appropriation Act for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
“However, the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) have now developed a Covid-19 vaccine programme for the country. Under the vaccine programme, 70% of eligible Nigerians are to be vaccinated between 2021 and 2022.
“In addition, our security and law enforcement agencies urgently need to procure additional equipment and other resources in response to the prevalent security challenges across the country.
“The Ministry of Defence has carefully scrutinized these procurement needs, which the military authorities claim to represent the minimum requirements to secure our country and address current external and internal security challenges.
“Furthermore, additional funds are required to meet our commitment to treat additional 50,000 patients under the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Program in States (NCAPS), as the amount provisioned in the 2021 Appropriation Bill for this purpose was inexplicably cut by the National Assembly.
“In order to address the urgent problem of oxygen availability in the country and avoid the potential loss of lives, provision was made for the procurement and installation of new oxygen plants nationwide and repairs of oxygen plants in FCT hospitals.
“It is also necessary to provide additional funds for Public Service wage Adjustment to cater for sundry wage-related issues in the health and other sectors, which if not resolved can add to the prevalent sense of instability in the polity.
“The Supplementary Budget request is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917 (Eight Hundred and Ninety-‘Five Billion, Eight Hundred and Forty-Two Million, Four Hundred and Sixty-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventeen Naira) only.
“We propose to fund N45.63 billion of the N83.56 billion required for the COVlD-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans (which would be restructured) as well as Other Grants totalling US$113.22 million.
“The balance of N37.93 billion required for COVlD-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditures totalling N41.69 billion and the N48.20 billion recurrent component of defence/security expenditure will be funded by drawing N135 billion from some Special Reserve/Levy Accounts, which will be captured as revenues to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.