House of Representatives Approves N98.5bn Supplementary Budget for FCT

The Nigerian House of Representatives descended into a rowdy session as lawmakers debated President Bola Tinubu’s request to extend the 2023 capital budget and supplementary budget until the end of the year.

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The opposition parties strongly objected to the president’s proposal, leading to a tense standoff that forced the lawmakers into an executive session amid loud booing from the opposition benches.

President Tinubu had inherited the ₦21.8 trillion 2023 budget from the previous administration, but the capital component suffered during the transition period as many projects were left unfunded. He is now seeking to extend the budget’s lifespan to ensure full implementation.

This is not the first time the president has requested such an extension. In December 2023 and March 2024, the National Assembly had previously granted Tinubu’s requests to prolong the 2023 budget and the ₦819 billion 2022 supplementary budget.

The latest ₦2.17 trillion supplementary budget, sent to the legislature in October 2023, has also drawn scrutiny. While a significant portion was allocated to the security sector, some lawmakers have raised concerns about questionable items, such as ₦28 billion for the purchase of luxury cars and the renovation of the president’s residence.

The heated debate in the House of Representatives underscores the political tensions surrounding the management of the country’s finances. The opposition parties have accused the Tinubu administration of mishandling the budget process and prioritizing unnecessary expenditures over pressing developmental needs.

However, the president’s supporters argue that the extensions are necessary to ensure the effective implementation of critical infrastructure projects and address the country’s security challenges. They maintain that the budget adjustments are within the constitutional powers of the executive and the legislature.

As the lawmakers continue their deliberations, the outcome of this latest budget dispute will have significant implications for the Tinubu administration’s economic agenda and its relationship with the opposition. The ability of the government to navigate these political hurdles and deliver tangible results for the Nigerian people will be closely watched by the public.

The coming days will be crucial in determining the fate of the president’s budget extension request and the broader fiscal management of the country. Nigerians will be keen to see if their elected representatives can put aside partisan differences and work together to address the nation’s pressing economic and developmental needs.