From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja 

President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, in Abuja signed a supplementary budget of N982,729,695,343 into law.

According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the budget is to address urgent security and COVID-19 needs of the nation.

The President signed the Supplementary Appropriation Act, 2021 in his office at the State House in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House), Umar  el-Yakub.

Of the amount, N123.3 million is slated for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while the sum of the N859.3 billion is for contribution to the Development Fund for capital expenditure for the year ending December 31, 2021.

President Buhari commended the National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and approval of the supplementary budget, assuring that the executive arm of government would ensure a timely delivery of capital projects to achieve the laudable objectives of the Budget.  

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The statement said the President had  at an earlier date, signed the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (Amendment) Act, 2021.

The Act amends the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board Act Cap. O10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the establishment of the Orthopedic Hospital Jos, Plateau State under the control of the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board affiliated to the Jos Teaching Hospital to provide specialised orthopedic treatment and medical services.

El-Yakub, who later briefed State House Correspondents after the signing said the Act will be largely focused on funding security and health concerns.

He said: “The President has assented the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, so now it’s Supplementary Appropriation Act, since it has been assented by Mr. President. Of course, you know, the Supplementary Appropriation Bill was submitted to the National Assembly and they made an expeditious consideration of the bill and was passed and transmitted in record time and Mr. President has today assented to that bill. It will come into force from today. 

“As you’re all aware, the bill is targeted only at infrastructure in terms of security and medical. The bill targeted the provision of infrastructure to all the military formations; Defense, Civil Defense, Police and the DSS, all the security outfits in this country will benefit from the bill because of Mr. President’s commitment in combating crimes and indeed, insurgency and all the security challenges facing the country. 

“To that end, this bill is very important and it has been assented to. Another critical area of concern is the health sector, which of course, we know with the pandemic, there is need to invest in that sector as well. Mr. President, having assented to the bill, you’ll find that molecular laboratories, about 10 of them, will be established nationwide.