Senators clash during National Assembly deliberations on the 2021 budget
Nigerian Senate legislators have begun discussions on the 2021 budget presented by President Muhammad Bukhari.
On Tuesday, senators began discussing the general guidelines for the 2021 budget forecast presented last Thursday at a joint meeting of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Bukhari, The PUNCH reported.
Senators in power from the All-Progressive Congress praised the Bukhari regime for submitting fiscal document # 10.08trn entitled “Economic Recovery and Resilience Budget.”
But their colleagues from the People’s Democratic Party called the budget unrealistic to execute.
Senate Leader Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, who initiated the debate, said the proposed budget deficit of $ 5.19 trillion. N is 3.64% of gross domestic product, which is above the legal threshold. for tax liabilities 2007
He said: “Despite the fact that the deficit is covered by new loans and funds received from proceeds from privatization, as well as from multilateral and bilateral sources, the deficit is covered by 4.28 trillion. NN, it is important that our finance committee raises the issue before the National Assembly to allow this increase as specified in the current law, especially given the special circumstances that made it necessary.
“It is important to emphasize that the problems of income shortages and unforeseen emergencies can only be solved by borrowing, cutting spending, shrinking the economy, cutting public and social services, rationalizing and cutting jobs. , including “.
However, Senate Minority Leader Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said the figure does not show that Bukhari’s regime understands that the world has changed and that the country’s problems have escalated.
He said: “The era of oil is leaving, but the government remains familiar. Now is not the time for symbolic ideas. Nigeria needs big ideas. This budget proposal for 2021 fell through. to reach that point. “
However, Senate President Ahmad Lavan indicated that the budget proposal was an estimate and a hypothesis.
“Focus on what you think you can do to get the most out of that budget,” said Laban Abaribe.
However, the deputy head of the organization, Sabi Abdullahi, said that Abaribe was just playing in the gallery.
He listed various budgetary measures, especially in the health, welfare and SME support sectors, as a genuine attempt to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians.
Joining the discussion, Senator Ike Ekveremadu stressed that this was the first time that Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio has exceeded 3%.
He said: “I want the Finance and Appropriation Committee to find a solution to this problem. I am very concerned about how we make loans. I am concerned about the loans provided by China. They will not allow you to pay off the debt, because all the money goes to specific projects, and if they are not completed, they take over the management … “