President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday proposed a total budget of N16.39 trillion for the year 2022 to the National Assembly.
Speaking at the assembly chambers, the President tagged the appropriation bill “a Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability”.
He said the budget will focus on diversifying the economy, with robust MSME growth; investing in critical infrastructure; strengthening security and ensuring good governance; enabling a vibrant, educated and healthy populace; reducing poverty; and minimizing regional, economic and social disparities.
“Defence and internal security will continue to be our top priority,” the President said. “We remain firmly committed to the security of life, property and investment nationwide.
“We will continue to ensure that our gallant men and women in the armed forces, police and paramilitary units are properly equipped, remunerated and well-motivated.”
He also noted that the 2022 budget is the first time in Nigerian history, “where MDAs were clearly advised on gender-responsive budgeting.
“These are part of critical steps in our efforts to distribute resources fairly and reach vulnerable groups of our society,” he said.
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the National Assembly is committed to passing the budget before the end of the year.
Borrowings still within limit
Meanwhile, the president also said Nigerians have a right to be concerned about recent borrowings by the Federal Government.
He, however, stated that the debt level of the present administration was within sustainable limits.
“Some have expressed concern over our resort to borrowing to finance our fiscal gaps,” he said in a speech. “They are right to be concerned.
“However, we believe that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits. Borrowings are targeted at specific strategic projects and can be verified publicly.”
President Buhari explained that part of what necessitated the borrowings was the economic recession that hit the country.
“As you are aware, we have witnessed two economic recessions within the period of this administration. In both cases, we had to spend our way out of recession, which necessitated a resort to growing the public debt,” he informed the lawmakers.
“It is unlikely that our recovery from each of the two recessions would have grown as fast without the sustained government expenditure funded by debt.”