Senate considers Buhari’s N180bn Virement Request

The Senate on Wednesday gave consideration to President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for legislative approval for virements totalling N180.8bn in the 2016 budget to cater for some sectors of the economy.

The Senate referred the request to its Committee on Appropriations and Finance, which was mandated to report back to the lawmakers in one week.

In the virement request, which was read in both chambers of the National Assembly on October 25, 2016, the same day the Senate rejected the $29.96bn external borrowing plan of the President, Buhari explained that the request was for the transfer of funds already appropriated for special intervention programmes, both recurrent and capital, to critical recurrent and capital items.

The virement is to take care of shortfall in provisions for personnel costs, inadequate provision for the amnesty programme, continued requirements to sustain the war against insurgency and the depreciation of the naira.

Meanwhile, soon after the House of Representatives rose on Wednesday, members of the All Progressives Congress went into a closed door meeting to discuss the virement request.

Investigations by The PUNCH showed that the main agenda was to canvass support for the N180bn request to be approved at the committee stage.

The meeting was convened by the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.

One member, who did not want to be quoted, shared some of the details with one of our correspondents.

“A lot of explanations went on at the meeting. It was essentially to woo the APC caucus in particular to support the virement, especially now that it has successfully reached the committee stage,” the source said.