House of Representatives Today, Thursday, October 14, 202 raised serious concerns over the tacit devaluation of the Naira through the exchange rate benchmark adopted by the federal government in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
Chairman, House Services Committee, Hon. Olawale Tasir Raji (APC Lagos), while the House was debating the general principles of the Bill on Thursday, drew the attention of his colleagues to the danger of pegging the exchange rate at over N400/$1 in the coming year, describing the trend as worrisome and detrimental to the common man.
He shouted, “Mr. Speaker, the 2022 budget is on an exchange rate of N410.15 per US Dollar ($). 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, I recommend that efforts should be geared towards strengthening of the Naira”.
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.
On the other hand, the Senate, had also on Wednesday, passed the 2022 Appropriation Bill for second reading after over one hour of debate on its general principles.
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 the debate, Yusuf Gagdi emphasised the need for thorough scrutiny of the budget to ensure it aligns with the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian people.
On his part, Gudaji Kazaure asked the executive arm to block all financial leakages and utilise recovered looted funds judiciously in funding deficit in the 2022 budget.
House of Representatives Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu in his contribution called for inclusion of climate change and ecological challenges in the budget to address such problems.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.