Senate begins debate on 2020 budget, to continue Thursday

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The Nigerian Senate has began debate on the 2020 appropriation bill presented to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Buhari made the presentation on Tuesday at a joint session of National Assembly members.

At plenary on Wednesday, lawmakers took their turns to air out their views about the budget. The presentation was called up by the leader of the Senate, Abdullahi Yahaya.

Budget of taxation

For Enyinnanya Abaribe who seconded the presentation, the budget is that of taxation. He described it as being unsustainable.

“This is nothing but a budget of taxation. I urge the Senate to look at that fact as it is not a sustainable budget. Debt servicing is higher than capital expenditure. We are still struggling,” the Abia South lawmaker said.

Abaribe was supported by Senator Gabriel Suswam, who said the red chamber needs to address alleged excess borrowing by the executive.

“I commend Mr. President for bringing an ambitious budget; the deficit worries me, there is a correspondence borrowing increase; we need to do something in this Chamber by way of legislation to address borrowing,” Suswam who represents Benue North-East, said.

Disagreeing with his colleagues is Senator Aliyu Sabi who described the budget as that of a continued change.

“This is a budget of continued change. This government is on the right trajectory. This budget has addressed how the micro and medium small enterprises will play a key role in building the Nigerian economy,” said the lawmaker representing Niger North.

“This budget will continue the change and ensure our citizens see a better economy,” Sabi added.

Senator Barau Jibrin representing Kano-North, called for an end to alleged reckless spendings, his Enugu-West counterpart, Ike Ekweremadu, spoke on the need to block leakages.

While the Senate leader, Yahaya called for adjournment of plenary, the minority leader of the red chamber, Abaribe, seconded the motion.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, thereafter adjourned plenary to Thursday with debate on the budget to be continued at resumption.