The Senate held an emergency session on Saturday to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, creating more space for borrowings. This was done by amending the CBN Act, increasing the Ways and Means borrowing threshold for the Federal Government, and extending the implementation of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act from June 30, 2023 to December 31, 2023. President Muhammadu Buhari explained that the 2022 supplementary budget would be financed by additional domestic borrowings.
The CBN Advances to the Federal Government stood at N700billion before 2015, with the borrowings exceeding the threshold of 5% of Federal Government revenue for the previous years. The CBN Act states that the CBN may grant temporary advances to the federal government in respect of temporary deficit of budget revenue at such rate as the bank may determine.
The CBN Act and the Constitution stipulate that the total amount of advances outstanding must not exceed 5% of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government. However, some Senators were not happy with the emergency session of the Senate called by Lawan to cover violations of the CBN Act and some sections of the Constitution by President Buhari.
Senator Babba Kaita (PDP, Katsina) argued that there was no need to rush the amendments of both the CBN Act and the extention of implementation of the 2022 supplementary budget, noting that the Ninth Senate ought to have left the work for the incoming Assembly. Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue) expressed reservations for the excessive borrowing of the Federal Government under Buhari, saying it would have negative effects on the economy.
Senator Gobir also led the debate on the extention of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act from June 30 to December 31, 2023. Senator Gobir urged colleagues to give their full support to the Bill to allow full utilization of the Capital releases in order to help reflate the economy, while he moved that the two bills be referred to the committee of the whole for clause by clause consideration.