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Lawan, others fault Abaribe’s criticism of Buhari’s 2021 budget proposals

PIB passes first reading in Senate

The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has had his position on President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2021 budget proposal seriously opposed by many of his colleagues.

On Tuesday, during the Senate plenary, Abaribe had faulted sections of the 2021 budget as presented by Buhari.

He said, “The era of oil is fading out, but the government retains an attitude of business-as-usual. This is not time for tokenistic ideas. Nigeria needs big ideas. The 2021 budget proposal failed to deliver on that point.”

He stated this during the debate on the N13.8 trillion 2021 budget at the floor of the Senate.

But opposing Abaribe, the Senate President Ahmad Lawal said that the budget proposal was an estimate and assumption. He added that every government had done budgetary projections since 1999 and would continue to do so.

READ ALSO: Senate begins debate on 2021 budget

He then advised the Senate Minority Leader and others to rather concentrate on the areas they think would make the budget perform optimally.

Replying, Abaribe said, “So we are also going to look at the assumptions so that we know what we are assuming about, so we want to go ahead as the 2021 budget do not reflect an understanding of the fundamental challenges that beset this country.

“How would you budget 100 per cent when you know you are going to get 30 per cent. Every year we have a budget in which the capital budget and the debt are almost equal. What does that tell us, how do we move forward like that?”

In his response, Lawan said, “If I were the Minority Leader, I would have spoken in the same brilliant manner.” He however, noted that the 2014 budget had only 15 per cent for capital budget even when the then administration had plenty of money.

Abaribe’s argument was further faulted by the Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, who accused the Minority Leader of playing to the gallery of the opposition.

“The budget is that of recovery and resilience, I know what recovery means as a veterinary doctor and I know what it means to bring an animal back to recovery. This government understands that the country is not well,” Sabi said.

Abaribe was also faulted by the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, who defended the budget proposals.

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