As Senators began the N10.33 trillion budget debate on Wednesday, there were different opinions on the viability of the budget by lawmakers who tried to tag the Appropriation based on their own different perspectives.
Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe while ‘firing’ the budget said that so many things which could not be obviously achieved were put together in the budget.
“Very many things were put and jumbled together: budget of fiscal consolidation, investing in critical infrastructure and so forth.”
“In other words, putting everything together like that reminds us of what Shakespeare said: a tale full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
This, however, did not go down well with the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan who insisted that he should have concentrated on the contents of the budget rather than taking the chambers through a literature class.
“Minority leader, this is not a literature class and I want to appeal that you talk on what was read in the budget speech.”
Senate later raised concerns about securing loans and other issues, which paved way for the Minority leader to speak on.
Abaribe continued, saying the budget was that of taxation rather than consolidation.
“I want to suggest a name to those who wrote this speech for Mr. President, that this is nothing but a budget of taxation. It is a budget that is based on taxation. It’s based on 7.5 per cent increase in VAT, based on several other increases.
“Senate President, Senate leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi has helped us in his lead debate on how the Federal Government intended to secure loans in order to shore up the budget deficit while faulting the development.
“I want to mention that the biggest loan we have is the fact that, how would you talk about job creation when you do not invest in what will create jobs?
“Debt servicing as a component is higher than capital expenditure. 2trn for capital expenditure, 2.4trn for debt servicing.
The projected growth that they put in the budget was 1.9 per cent, less than the population growth of 2.6 per cent. So, if we look at it globally, we are still struggling.
“We may have to take over and direct the economic policy of this government. having seen that they have not done anything and they have failed.
“Two assumptions are critical for this government. First, the assumption on oil prices. I know that our people were happy when there seem to be a little problem in the middle east with Iran which will lead to a spike in the oil price but that seems to have gone down which means that our projection for the cost of oil may also be off the mark.”
“Second one is our projection for the production levels daily. Last year, the average production level was 1.8m BPD. Why don’t we just keep it there? Why must we go up to 2.1 only to be disappointed at the end of the day?
“I know that you have promised the executive that we are going to work very well with the executive to produce the budget, but I plead with my colleagues to look at the facts. You can’t run away from facts.
“The facts here is that this is not a sustainable budget. If we need to change, we must be able to look at the critical fundamentals of this budget speech and make adjustments as due.”
Senate President insisted that the Minority leader was inaccurate in his statistical presentations.
Similarly, some lawmakers of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, maintained that the figure was bogusly put together by the executive without taking the nation’s dwindling revenue into consideration.
Speaking at a press conference after plenary, Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye said the nation has the best budget put together for 2020.
He said what transpired on the floor was in line with different perspectives of seeing things by people while describing the budget as “budget of consolidation.”
PDP Passes Confidence Vote On Wike
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has passed a vote of confidence on the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, because of the high performance of his administration.
The party’s Chairman in the state, Amb Desmond Akawor, announced this, yesterday, during a courtesy visit by the Executive members of the Rivers State chapter of the party to the governor at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Akawor said: “For us as a party, we take our shoulders high when we consider what is going on in the state, especially in terms of infrastructural development”.
According to the PDP chairman, the administration of Governor Wike has not only recovered what were lost by the past government but has changed the landscape of Port Harcourt with five flyovers at a time, a feat that no administration in the state ever accomplished.
He further noted Governor Wike’s landmark achievements in health, Judiciary, traditional institution, among numerous others, and stressed that there was none out of the 23 three local government areas of the state that does not have the governor’s landmark.
The party also rated Governor Wike high in the fight against the ravaging Coronavirus, particularly as the first governor to lockdown the state, including other strategies of his administration which were outstanding.
The party chairman intimated the governor of the plan to move from unit to unit for the reconciliation of aggrieved members to bring them back to the umbrella of the PDP.
He said the state executive arm of the party deemed it necessary to come and thank Governor Wike for organising what he described as the most peaceful state convention, and assured him that they would follow the Constitution of the party to the letter in discharging their duties.
He assured the state chief executive of the party’s maximum support to his administration, including his determination to lead the party to victory in the forthcoming Edo Governorship Election.
In his remarks, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, congratulated them for their emergence as the new executive members of the party in the state, and charged them to work hard and in unity to sustain the high level achievements recorded by the party.
Remarking that the former leadership of the party under Bro Felix Obuah worked well, the governor charged the new executive to do better, and assured that they would be provided all they need to succeed.
By: Chris Oluoh
Ondo 2020: AAC Alleges Wrong Substitution Of Deputy Guber Candidate
The African Action Congress (AAC) in Ondo State has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of substituting the name of the running mate to its governorship candidate, Adekunle Adeleye.
Adeleye was elected the party’s flag bearer at the governorship primary election held recently in Akure.
INEC had released the name of Adeleye as the AAC governorship candidate and one Samuel Tope Omotosho as the deputy governorship candidate for the party.
But the AAC kicked against the INEC position, alleging that the name listed by the Commission was different from that of the party’s deputy governorship candidate.
The party said the name of Mrs Mopelola Evelyn Ibrahim was sent to INEC as the Party’s deputy governorship candidate and was therefore surprised to see that her name was replaced by INEC.
The governorship candidate of the party, Mr Adeleye said INEC’s action was unexpected of a corporate organisation of its status
Adeleye said he was suprised to see the name of Omotosho as his running mate, saying that the name listed by INEC was not on the party’s register.
‘We have submitted a letter to INEC notifying them of the error and we want them to replace the unknown with the name of my running mate, Mrs Mopelola Evelyn Ibrahim, I think it is a human error somewhere,’ he said.
Also speaking, the AAC Chairman in the State, Mr Alex Adeniyi, alleged that INEC has distorted the list of names for the election.
He said the party had taken lawful steps to correct the anomaly before the August 18 deadline given to political parties to substitute or correct names of their candidates.
Gbajabiamila Knocks FG Agencies Over Revenue Diversion
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has revealed that some revenue generating agencies were diverting funds for unnecessary expenditures and forcing government to take loans.
Gbajabiamila revealed this at the commencement of the dialogue session on Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) organised by the Committee on Finance.
The session is for revenue consideration with heads of revenue generating agencies in attendance.
The Speaker in his speech noted that there was, “consistent failure to adhere to the revenue remittance agreements to which many of these agencies have committed.”
He, therefore, criticised the agencies for making government to seek loans to finance infrastructural development.
Gbajabiamila also warned that loans will not be sufficient to finance capital component of the budget.
“We have credible reports that these desperately needed funds have in many cases, been diverted to finance unnecessary trivialities. At the same time, the Government is left scrambling for alternative sources to fund priority projects.
“We recognise that we cannot accomplish these objectives using loans and outside financing alone,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Committee, James Faleke, said that the focus will be on MTEF which President Muhammadu Buhari sent to the National Assembly before its annual recess.
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