Senator Mao Ohuabunwa PHOTO: TWITTER/NIGERIAN SENATE
A People’s Democratic Party senator, Mao Ohuabunwa, Tuesday called for the Nigerian senate to “jack up” the 2019 budget by 10 trillion Naira.
“Instead of reducing, we should ‘jack up’ the budget by 10 trillion,” Ohuabunwa said during the plenary.
The 2019 appropriation bill sent by the President is N8.82 trillion. The spending list, N8,826,636,578,915, has a recurrent expenditure of N4 trillion while N2 trillion goes for capital expenditure with N2.2 trillion and N492 billion for debt servicing and statutory transfers respectively.
Ohuabunwa complained that the two trillion naira allocated to the capital expenditure is not enough due to the various ongoing projects.
“What can two trillion do when we have ongoing projects,” he questioned.
“We need to block leakages and ensure taxes are collected and put into good use in the economy such as the Basic Health fund which Senate President, Bukola Saraki started,” Ohuabunwa added.
“We are consolidating poverty. We need to really look at this budget. Instead of reducing, we should ‘jack up’ the budget by 10 trillion. What can 2 trillion do when we have on going projects.”- Senator Mao Ohuabunwa.
— The Nigerian Senate (@NGRSenate) March 19, 2019
However, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe while reacting to the budget said, “With a total debt service of 25.7% and capital budget at 23%, it means we are paying more debt.
“This is a budget of impossibilities. Out of every 1 Naira, 68kobo is paid out. The Federal Government needs to go back to the drawing board,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed the appropriation bill for a second reading on Tuesday.
Senators, last Wednesday, commenced the debate on the budget with some of them expressing fears about the “high level of debt” the country was getting into.
Some of the senators expressed reservations about the plans by the government to borrow from both internal and domestic sources to fund the 2019 budget.
The senators said should Nigeria continue to borrow money to fund the deficits in her annual budgets, the country would be hugely indebted in the end without any means to repay.
After the second reading of the bill, it was referred to relevant committees of the Senate for further action.