The two chambers of the Nigerian bi-cameral legislature, the Senate and the House of Representatives, have on Wednesday, January 20, commenced deliberation on the 2016 appropriation bill proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The debate, which started today at the plenaries of the two chambers of the National Assembly, came on the heels of President Buhari request to amend the 2016 budget, Premium Times reports.
The deliberation was spearheaded by Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, who averred that the draft appropriation bill was “unique and a budget of change”, and also expressed confidence that the budget would be the pivotal means to the “change” promised by Mr. Buhari-led All-Progressives Congress government.
Similarly, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, House Leader of the House of Representatives, described the budget as “historical and epic”.
Mr Gbajabiamila said: “Epic and historical because it is a budget that is coming at the advent of a historically low oil price and on the heels of a receding economy like never before,”
“Epic and historical because it is perhaps the first really all-inclusive budget that seeks to carry all Nigerians along — the rich, the not-so- rich, the poor, the not-so-poor and the vulnerable.
“It is an epic budget because it is a budget based on the internationally acclaimed zero-based budgeting system where every kobo has been newly justified by the MDAs
“It is trite economic principle and economy 101 that when there is a downturn in the economy, you rejig or stimulate the economy by pumping more money into it.”
The interest of the deliberators were not aligned as Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia State) disclosed that the budget was predicated on $38 per barrel of crude oil which now sells at $28.
“Therefore, this budget is dead on arrival,” he said, urging the Presidency to “withdraw the budget and go back to the drawing board.”
Supporting Mr. Abaribe’s point of view, Suleiman Adokwe (PDP-Nasarawa State) was also critical of the borrowing proposal “which is almost 50 per cent of the expected revenue to fund the budget.”
The heated debate was adjourned and will therefore continue tomorrow.