2022 budget: Lawan Canvasses Less Borrowing Via PPP Infrastructure Financing

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, says there is a need for concerted efforts by the Executive and Legislature to explore alternative funding sources to reduce borrowing if the country must drastically reduce its annual budget deficit. 

One of such, he said during the presentation of the 2022 budget to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, is Public-Private Partnerships on infrastructural projects, as well as compulsory remittances of generated revenues by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of Government.  

Lawan insisted that the policy of zero allocation for MDAs that fail to remit revenues for the 2022 Appropriation must be sustained to achieve positive results, lamenting that “generating and collecting revenues have remained major challenges in our quest for development.

“The recent efforts by the National Assembly, as well as the Executive to challenge the revenue-generating agencies is a step in the right direction.

 “Equally important is the recent position taken by the Legislature and the Executive to insist on zero allocation for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that fail to remit/upload their revenues for the 2022 Appropriation,” a move, he recalled, resulted in an increase in the contribution of the MDAs by over N400bn.

“It is my view that MDAs can contribute to the Federation account much more than that. This policy should be expanded and deepened to cover more MDAs.”

Given the high level of the budget deficit, the Senate President both the Legislature and the Executive should work to reduce through the availability of more revenues.

“I must commend the Senate and House Committees on Finance and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for working together to improve the level of revenues for the government.”

“Mr. President, we understand that due to paucity of revenue, the Federal Government has to resort to raising funds from foreign and domestic sources to provide infrastructure across the country. That is why the National Assembly approved the requests for borrowing.

“The Commitment of the Federal Government in providing infrastructure across the country means that the funds must be raised one way or the other.

“Government should also explore other sources of funding its projects in order to reduce borrowing”, the Senate President advised.

On the timely consideration of the 2022 budget, Lawan said that the Ninth Assembly remains committed to sustaining the January to December budget timeline hitherto reverted to after its inauguration.

He recalled that the early passage of the 2020 and 2021 budgets helped Nigeria to deal with the economic recession it faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baring his thoughts on the security situation in the country, Lawan advocated for adequate funding of security agencies in the 2022 budget.

“Mr. President, the security of lives and property of Nigerians is still a challenge.

“The National Assembly is ever willing to work with the Executive arm of Government to continue to work for better security for our citizens.

“The recent changes in the leadership of the armed forces is a clear testimony of the collaboration between the Legislature and the Executive to overhaul the security architecture for better outcomes in our fight against the myriads of security challenges.

“Mr. President, the recent passage of the supplementary budget 2021 that appropriated over eight hundred billion Naira to our security agencies is a commendable step in the right direction.

“Federal Government should therefore continue to provide more resources to our security agencies to sustain the gains made so far.”

The Senate President assured that the National Assembly would pass the 2022 Appropriation Bill before the end of this year.