The House of Representatives on Monday declared that the 2021 budget prepared and presented by President Muhammadu Buhari is incapable of lifting Nigeria from the current economic recession being experienced.
The declaration was made by the House of Representative Committee on Science and Technology which argued that the documents presented by President Buhari had allocation flaws that should be corrected.
While expressing his thoughts on the budget, a member of the committee, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante from Rivers State, said that Buhari may have been ill-advised into preparing such a budget.
Hon. Abiante also lamented the absence of the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Director-General, Budget Office, Ben Akabueze who both ignored the committee’s invitation to explain why capital projects in 2020 budget of many agencies of government in the Ministry of Science and Technology and others were not getting adequate funding.
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He said; “It won’t be very appropriate for their own views not to be reflected. For having this opportunity, I want it on record that it probably could have been an intended absence to avoid scrutiny of what had been presented. If there had been a written document before us, allowing the DG, probably, would have taken a few questions because to my mind, having looked at the budget of some agencies that we supervise as the Committee on science and technology as well as some other agencies supervised by some other Commitees, I want to honestly say that the budget office is one of the greatest problems we have in this country.
“What we have before us is no budget. We have looked at it. And if we continue like this, then we know where the problem of this country lies. Somebody may have been misinforming or even ill-advising Mr. President. I give you an instance, the parastatal was before us requesting for about one billion naira to have laboratory established and all they could get in 2020 budget was N20m out of a billion Naira for something that will turn around the economy of the country, something that will help to stop the importation of adhesives that are used in the leather industry. Who is causing us this problem?
”The Budget Office. So, how many years will it take to budget N20m each to arrive at the completion of a project of N1b that will be of a great importance to this country? The list is endless. You find a project that is supposed to cost N100m, the budget office will allocate N100.000? The budget office is the greatest problem. If the DG was here, I would have said more.
”People are looking for SARS. I think they are misdirecting it. You will allocate 100% to training as capital project. Conference 100% but the things that will turn around the economy of the country, you give 1%.
“To my mind, probably, …and they have avoided this interface. If another opportunity presents itself, well and good. If it doesn’t, let the House know that what is before us is not a budget, not even to talk of a budget that can help this country in this time of recession. It is not a budget. Convey to the leadership of this House that we don’t have a budget. The entire document should be sent back,” Hon. Abiante noted.
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