OrderPaperToday – The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has described the 2020 budget as “not sustainable”.
He made this known while contributing to the debate on the 2020 appropriation bill of N10. 33 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari at the joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Explaining his stance, Abaribe said: “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.”
Senators started murmuring at this point.
The Abia Senator however continued saying: “Following the lead of the Senate Leader who mentioned 15 loans, I want to mention that the biggest loan we have is the fact that…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 2trn for capital expenditure, 2.4trn for debt servicing.
“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.”
The Senator reacted to two assumptions which are “critical for this government”
On the assumption on oil prices, he said: “I know that our people were happy when there seem to be a little problem in the middle east with Iran which will lead to a spike in the oil price but that seen to have gone down which means that our projection for the cost of oil may also be off the mark.”
He also commented on the projection for the production levels daily pegged at 2.18 million barrel per day.
Abaribe said: “Last year, the average production level was 1.8m bpd. Why dont we just keep it there? Why must we go up to 2.1 only to be disappointed at the end of the day.”
Addressing the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the minority noted that although he (Lawan) has promised to work work well with the executive but “I plead with my colleagues to look at the facts. You cant run away from facts.
“The facts say this is not a sustainable budget. The fact 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.”
In his remarks, Lawan told Abaribe that his “brilliant presentation was laced with inaccurate statistical information but all the same, you are entitled to your opinion.”