2020 Budget: We may take over Buhari’s government – PDP Senator warns

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A Senator belonging to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari might soon be toppled.

Mr Buhari had on Tuesday presented the appropriation bill for next year to the joint session of the National Assembly.

Mr Buhari who proposed a N10.33 trillion budget tagged the financial document that of “fiscal consolidation to strengthen our macroeconomic environment; investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job creating sectors.”

One assumption of the budget is that Nigeria will use nearly a quarter of the budget (N2.5 trillion) to repay debts the government owes locally and internationally.

The budget was also prepared on the assumption of $57 per barrel with crude oil production of 2.18 million barrels per day.

At the debate of the bill which began Wednesday, Senator Enyinnanya Abaribe, representing Abia South senatorial district, said the executive has failed and there is need for it to be taken over and the economic policies of the present administration redirected.

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“I want to suggest a name to those who wrote this speech for the president that this is nothing but a budget of taxation,” Abaribe said before being interrupted by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who cautioned him to stop the attack.

“I just want to appeal to you to talk to what was read in the budget speech,” the top lawmaker advised his colleague.

Continuing from where he stopped the Abia lawmaker who is the Minority leader of the upper legislative chamber, re-emphasised the proposed name he gave to the budget and described it as unsustainable.

“This is a budget that is based on taxation. Its is based on 7.5 per cent increase in VAT, based on several other increases,” he said querying, “How would you talk about job creation when you do not invest in what will create jobs? Debt servicing as a component is higher than capital expenditure. Two trillion for capital expenditure, 2.4trn for debt servicing.

Abaribe added that it is time for the red chamber to take over from the executive whom he said have failed. He also pleaded with his colleagues to look at facts before accepting the bill.

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“The projected growth that they put in the budget was 1.9 per cent, less than the population growth of 2.6 per cent. So, if we look at it globally, we are still struggling. We may have to take over and direct the economic policy of this government. having seen that they have not done anything and they have failed.

“I know that you have promised the executive that we are going to work very well with the executive to produce the budget but I plead with my colleagues to look at the facts. You cannot run away from facts.

“The facts say this is not a sustainable budget. The facts say that if we need to change, we must be able to look at the critical fundamentals of this budget speech and make adjustments as due,” he added.