The Reps Appropriations Committee Chairman said the N5bn provision for the presidential yacht in the supplementary budget was removed, and allocation for student loans increased by the same sum.
The National Assembly has passed the N2.18 trillion 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill forwarded to it by President Bola Tinubu.
Before the passage of the bill, the Senate adopted both reports of the sittings of both chambers on the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill which was presented by the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Ogun West).
Recall that President Tinubu in the letter read during Tuesday’s plenary, requested the bill be given expeditious consideration and passage.
The lawmakers immediately passed it for second reading and mandated the committee on Appropriations to interface with heads of affected agencies for defense on the proposals made.
The Appropriations Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives also met with Ministers of related agencies on Wednesday and assured that reports of the supplementary budgetary proposals would be submitted to the Senate for final consideration and passage on Thursday.
The Ministers include; the Minister of Works, David Umahi; the Minister of Housing, Ahmed Dangiwa and the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari; the Minister of State for Defence, Hon Bello Matawale as well as Service Chiefs
Tinubu had said the supplementary bill was necessary for additional palliative measures including wage awards.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yanked off the N5.095 billion allocated for the purchase of a presidential yacht.
It also increased the allocation for Student Loan by N5 billion pegging it at N10 billion. It equally increased the allocation for National Security from an initial budget of N29 billion to N50 million.
Briefing journalists, the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Rep. Abubakar Kabir Bichi (APC, Kano) confirmed that the provision for the Yacht has been removed.
“As far as we are concerned, we don’t have that anymore. We have increased the student loans. Initially, student loan was N5 billion in the budget but, we have increased it to N10 billion. So that our students can access that facility for them to go to school. We don’t have the Yatch anymore in budget.
“As you know, the budget is about N2.1 trillion and the Ministry of Defence has about N456 billion but currently the Ministry has the largest share because we know how important our security is. As you are aware, we have interacted with them yesterday. Currently, we have increased their budget from N456 billion to N546, 209,099,671 billion.
“For the Office of National Security, their initial budget was N29 billion but currently we have increased their budget to N50 billion. For the State House, their initial budget was N28bn and we maintained that.
“Service-wide votes initially was N615 billion but currently we reduced it to N515 billion. So far, we have approved N2,176, 791, 286, 33 trillion. We will continue to support the government so we can deliver democracy dividends,” Bichi stated.