- The Nigerian Senate has started deliberating on the 2020 Appropriation Bill presented by President Buhari
- Some of the senators who commented on the budget’s general principles fault the assumptions and estimates, adding that adjustments should be made
- The senators also claim that the country’s economy has gotten to a level where the National Assembly may have to intervene and redirect the government’s policy
Some members of the Senate have picked holes in the 2020 Appropriation Bill which President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly.
Debating on the general principles of the bill, some senators said that the budget estimates were unrealistic, Daily Sun reports.
Yahaya Abdullahi, the Senate leader, expressed reservation about the capital budget to GDP ratio, saying it is too small.
According to Abdullahi, the budgetary allocation for capital development expenditure, N2.46 trillion, is also small.
Speaking on the projected deficit of N2.18 trillion for 2020, the Senate leader blamed the deficit on the shortage of revenue and the cost of government borrowing.
He, therefore, tasked the revenue collecting agencies to work harder and improve their revenue collection capacity.
Abdullah equally advised the federal government to improve on internally generated revenue by making investments in the real sector to grow the economy and boost employment, expanding the tax base, fighting corruption, and improving ease of doing business for investors.
The lawmaker also commented on the amount budgeted for debt service, saying the debt service as a percentage of capital expenditure is still high while it is supposed to be reducing.
Also speaking, the Senate minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, described the appropriation bill as one of taxation which allegedly contradicted President Buhari’s talk about employment drive.
Abaribe also noted that the budget’s projected growth was 1.9% less than the population growth of 2.6%.
Abaribe also said he was happy that the Senate leader allegedly said the Senate “may have to take over and redirect the economic policy” of the federal government.
“So, if you look at it globally, we are still struggling, that is why I was very happy when the Senate Leader said we may have to take over and redirect the economic policy of this government, having seen that the executive has not done anything,” he said.
Abaribe further condemned the assumptions of the bill, saying they were completely unrealistic and unsustainable.
He concluded that necessary adjustments must be made.
However, Senator Gabriel Suswam, in his own contributions, said the budget was a very ambitious one intended to solve infrastructural problems.
Nevertheless, the Benue senator also claimed that the country’s “economy has got to a level that this Senate needs to take over and redirect its affairs”.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that the ninth Senate chaired by Ahmed Lawan on Wednesday, October 8, commenced the debate on the general principles of the appropriation bill of 2020.
Lawan had promised that the 2020 budget would be passed by the National Assembly before the end of December 2019.
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