Budget 2020
The president said it was a budget of Fiscal Consolidation to strengthen Nigeria’s macroeconomic environment (image courtesy: State House)

The Minority Leader in the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, says the 2020 Appropriation Bill is “nothing but a budget of taxation”, one that is not “sustainable.”

Concise News reports that the lawmaker representing Abia-South, speaking at the Senate plenary on Wednesday, argues that the budget is not sustainable because debt servicing is higher than capital expenditure.

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Abaribe, a chieftain of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), then urged the Senate to look into the budget, stressing that the country was still struggling.

Reacting to his colleague’s comments, former Governor of Benue State, now representing Benue North-East as a Senator, Gabriel Suswam, said the lawmakers needed to address Nigeria’s borrowing methodologies.

“I commend Mr. President for bringing an ambitious budget; the deficit worries me, there is a correspondence borrowing increase; we need to do something in this Chamber by way of legislation to address borrowing,” he said.

But as for Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi  from Niger North, the budget rightly addressed the economic issues besetting Nigeria.

“This is a budget of continued change. This government is on the right trajectory,” he said.

“This budget has addressed how the micro and medium small enterprises will play a key role in building the Nigerian economy.”

“This budget will continue the change and ensure our citizens see a better economy.”

Concise News reports that the Nigerian leader presented the Appropriation Bill for 2020 before a joint session of the country’s National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.

Buhari said that the budget was prepared to strengthen Nigeria’s macroeconomic environment; investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job-creating sectors.

The budget, termed a ‘Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation,’ was proposed based on a 7.5% tax rate.

PDP reacts 

Nigeria’s major opposition party, PDP, claimed that the N10.33 trillion 2020 budget proposed by President Buhari to the National Assembly on Tuesday would further impoverish Nigerians.

The party, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the federal lawmakers to redirect the fiscal proposal to serve the interest of majority of Nigerians.

According to the opposition party, the core of the budget remains “hazy, showing streaks of padding, fraudulent duplication, replete with false performance indices, deceptive projections and inexplicable expenditure assertions which create openings for continued looting of our national patrimony by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and persons close to the Presidency.”

The party also criticized the Buhari administration for allegedly not being transparent in the mammoth allocations for “alleged vague projects”.

“Standing with millions of Nigerian youths and women, our party rejects the paltry budgets of N48 billion for education and N46 billion for health and urges the National Assembly to review the allocations in the interest of Nigerians,” it said.

“Furthermore, the PDP notes, as unacceptable that President Buhari, in his budget speech, could not give account of his handling of the 2019 budget and had to resort to lame excuses and unsupported figures, particularly on the various unimplemented subheads in critical sectors of the economy

“Moreover, Mr. President failed to explain why his administration has remained hugely corrupt and how his Presidency depleted our foreign reserves to an all time low $41,852 billion, accumulated huge foreign and domestic debts and kept the naira at its knees at about N360 to $1USD under his watch.”