Nigeria’s Senators on Tuesday made divergent opinions on workability or otherwise of the proposed N13.08 trillion 2021 budget .
While most of the PDP senators who contributed to the debate , picked holes in the budgetary proposals, their APC counterparts said as bad as the situations on ground are, the budgetary proposals can still bring about required recoveries in various sectors of the Nation’s economy as anticipated by President Muhamnadu Buhari who christened the budget as one of ” recovery and resilience”.
Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North) digressed a bit by describing those clamouring for restructuring of the country as people seeking for dismemberment of the country, before addressing the budgetary proposals and projections .
“Mr. President distinguished colleagues, we are all witnesses to the cacophony of voices and opinions of some leading members of our society, our compatriots who out of genuine concerns, frustration, sense of entitlement or sheer political bravado, call for the dismemberment of this nation or for public disobedience through which they hope to bring down the government of the day, thereby truncating our hard won democratic journey.
“The constitutional reform process is there in the National Assembly to satisfy the earnings and aspirations of Nigerians for restructuring and reshaping our federation to make it an inclusive and all-embracing polity.
“We as Senators of the Federal Republic, should not contemplate the dangerous and destabilizing temptations of dismembering our federation.
“We must stand by the honour of our status, our convictions and our oath of office which is to preserve and protect the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians, as a whole.
“We are obliged to place the social and economic challenges we face today in their proper historical perspectives with a View to determining the best course of action for our people and our nation at this point in history”, he said.
Specifically, while the Senate Leader on the budget proposals said
“It is important to note at the outset, that this proposal is not strange to the leadership of the National Assembly and the Committees of Finance and National Planning. All the parameters were discussed and agreed upon, at least in principle.
“What remains for us is to closely examine the contents and the details in order to sort things out and smoothen the rough edges.
A budget deficit of #5.19 trillion represents 3.64% of GDP and is therefore above the threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
Even though the deficit is covered by N4.28 trillion of new borrowing and funds obtainable from privatization proceeds and multilateral and bilateral sources, it is important for our committees on Finance to raise the matter for the National Assembly to permit this increase, as specified in the extant law, particularly given the special circumstances which made this necessary.
“It is also important to note that a budget deficit of this size requiring more indebtedness is not healthy for the long-term development of the country, but this must be tolerated now because of the challenges of the times”.
The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South), in his own contribution , tore the budget proposals into pieces by saying that the budget is nothing but old news.
“The 2021 Appropriation Bill proposes to spend N13.082 trillion, with expected revenue of N7.886 trillion and a deficit of N5.196 trillion. As with the other budgets over the last few years, it looks impractical and unimplementable.
“The major challenge, as with previous budgets, is with revenue and an overly optimistic revenue target. The 2021 budget hopes that the federal government will be able to generate almost eight trillion naira. If history is anything to go by, this projection looks impossible.
“This overly optimistic
position is not new in Nigeria but is part of a continuing pattern of false
optimism that has put the federal government’s accounts in the deep red and the country in dire straits.
“To demonstrate this point, the observers needs to look at the performance of previous approved budget revenues and what were achieved as actual
” In 2016, Nigeria had an approved budget with a revenue of N3.855
trillion. By the end of the year, the total retained revenue was only N2.621 trillion.
” This performance was a 32 percent shortfall according to the budget
implementation reports. In 2017, instead of trying to readjust to the reality of a difficult revenue situation, Government of Nigeria repeated the same overly optimistic exercise. The approved budget had a revenue of N5 trillion while actual revenue that year was only N2.37 trillion.
“This performance was a
whopping 53 percent shortfall. In 2018, Federal Government of Nigeria
repeated the same thing by submitted a budget that expected revenue to
jump from N2.37 trillion to N7.165 trillion. By the end of the year, actual
revenue was only N3.48 trillion; a 51 percent shortfall. The story was the same in 2019 and 2020. In 2019 the revenue shortfall was 41 percent and so far in 2020 the shortfall is 38 percent.
“Here we are in 2021 and the submitted budget expects revenue to be N7.886 trillion. Based on the half year numbers, Nigeria would be lucky to realise N3.3 trillion in revenue in 2020 by the end of the year. Yet the Executive expects revenue to increase by over 200 percent in 2021.
“When the Executive announces a N13 trillion budget, the ministries and agencies take it as a signal that the largess can continue. A casual look at the Appropriation Bill contains items like SUVs for chief executives and fancy office buildings for agencies who really do not need them.
“All of these things will count as “capital expenditure” without adding much to the productive ability of the economy. At a time when the Executive is on the verge of a serious fiscal crisis some of these proposed spending items are unnecessary.
“The budget betrays a lack of understanding of how modern economies function”.
The trend of disagreements continued when PDP Senators such as Ike Ekweremadu , Gabriel Suswam , Oker Jev etc made their presentations against workability of the budget .
Ekweremadu in particular , tackled the Senate Leader over his comment that proponents of restructuring are seeking for dismemberment of Nigeria .
He said the leader got it wrong and withdrew the statement on his behalf .
But other APC Senators like Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi , Orji Uzor Kalu, Uba Sani , Adamu Aliero, Ibikunle Amosun etc , expressed hope in the workability of the budgetary proposals .
The debate continues Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Cutting Costs of Governance: Presidency Should Lead Way – Ogunwale
A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Osun State, Senator Felix Ogunwale has said the Nigerian presidency should lead the way for others to follow in cutting down cost of governance.
Senator Ogunwale spoke on Wednesday in Osogbo while fielding question from a panel at a programme, The Frontliners’ organised by the Osun State Chapter of Association of Veteran Journalists, AVJ.
He said the right thing to be done was for the president of the country to show commitment to changing the narrative by not only asking Nigerians to endure the current hardship but to demonstrate the willingness to also make all arms of government to also feel the impact in their budget.
“I have always said it that we are note being driven by ideas in Nigeria but money. You can’t be asking those in the National Assembly to reduce their pay now when in actual sense the reason for some of them being their is to amaze wealth.
“Do you know what to correct this, it’s if our president, I am not referring to the current president, it’s the day our president decide to be riding bicycle to his office, the day the balance in his account is not more than 10 million, the day our president refuses to take more aides than it’s necessary, the day our president doesn’t believe in amazing wealth.”
The chairman of the event, Dr. Muyiwa Oladimeji who also shared the views of the guest urged the people of the State to continue to support the Administration of Senator Ademola Adeleke to be able to achieve his dream of developing all sectors of the State.
He commeded the AVJ for championing such efforts geared towards charting a way forward on how to achieve all round growth and development of the society and the nation at large.
Earlier, the chairman, AVJ, Adepoju Atobatele had described the programme as another opportunity to get Nigerians engaged on salient issues of national and global dimensions on the Front Liners.
Atobatele said, the association considered it a duty as professionals in the pen fraternity, to deepen democracy by constantly provoking Intellectual disputes that would widen public horizon of issues that are germane to the wellbeing, progress, security as well galvanizing interest in the affairs of the Country.
He said “The FRONTLINERS has been very active in widening discussions and analytical assessments of issues, events and personalities involved in determining the socio-economic and political directions of our dear Country, Nigeria.
“These we are carrying out successfully with the resources available to us in different ways, through the instrumentality of the Media.
“Ours as a professional body of retired media practitioners, still active in the concept of information management, has thus taken it as a sacred duty to act as change agents in a society yearning for objective information dissemination.”
IMO: Oyetola holds bilateral talks with Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Jamaica
…as Nigeria sets to sign MoU with Saudi Arabia
The minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Tuesday, continued bilateral discussions with ministers and representatives from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Brazil and Jamaica, expressing Nigeria’s government interest in learning from their knowledge and experiences.
This was revealed through his media aide, Ismail Omipidan, in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.
Recall that Oyetola, on Monday, held bilateral meetings with representatives of Greece, Qatar, and Mexico, on the sidelines of the ongoing 33rd General Assembly session of the International Maritime Organization, IMO, in London, United Kingdom.
During his meeting with the Brazilian Chief of the Navy’s General Staff, Adm José Augusto V. da Cunha de Menezes, the minister said Nigeria would want to learn from the operations of the Brazilian coast guards, as the ministry was desirous of setting up one so as to further secure the maritime space and the country’s waterways.
Oyetola further noted that: “We want to also focus on sectors such as Marine Renewable Energy, Marine Mining, Subsea Cabling and Piping, Marine Genetics, and Biotechnology, so as to grow the marine and blue economy.
“As we continue to expand and develop the activities of the sector, there will be need to deepen security architecture within the maritime space. In this regard, we are considering setting up Coast Guards and we believe that they will complement the existing security architecture to further secure our maritime space.”
The minister while expressing Nigeria’s desire to tap into technology to revolutionalise the maritime sector, further said “technology and innovation are vital for boosting Nigeria’s trade and investment prospects within the Marine and Blue Economy. Advanced marine technologies, including innovations in maritime logistics and smart logistics solutions, will significantly enhance the efficiency and sustainability of maritime transport and port operations, making Nigerian ports more competitive globally.”
Oyetola also met the newly elected Vice President of IMO, who is the Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, Saida Muna Tasneem and Saudi Arabia’s Saleh bin Nasser AIJasser, who is the minister in charge of the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services of Saudi Arabia, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Both Saudi Arabia and Nigeria during the meeting agreed to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cement their corporations, collaboration and partnership in the maritime space.
Twelve Calender Months Of Pace Setting Achievements – Odelade Hails Gov. Adeleke
The Special Adviser to Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke on Rural Water and Environmental Sanitation Agency RUWESA, Chief Lanre Odelade has described the one year Administration of Governor Adeleke as pace setting.
Speaking with newsmen today,the Special Adviser says, the tactful method of Intervention in critical areas of the state’s economy and social welfare has given out the Administration as commited to the welfare and advancement of their living conditions.
Chief Odelade particularly lauded the state government for it’s quick response to correcting the infrastructural deficit,impaired health care delivery,and neglect of public sector workers,all of which were inherited from the previous ApC Governments.
The Special Adviser particularly noted the swift response of Government to water Provision which led to the sinking of solar and generator powered bore holes to the 332 wards in the state.
Chief Odelade is optimistic that Governor Ademola Adeleke will consolidate on the gains of the past one year with renewed focus on taking the local government Administration from the duldrums to the centre stage of development and self reliance in accordance with the five point agenda of the state government.
He called on the people to give maximum support to Governor Ademola Adeleke in his determined efforts to take Osun state to the promised land.
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