OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has begun debate into the general principle of the 2020 Appropriation bill.

The N10. 33trillion budget was presented on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari at a joint session of the National Assembly and the lawmakers have already vowed to ensure its passage before the end of the year.

The members of the House today took turns to debate the general principle after the leader of the House, Ado Dogwa moved the motion.

In his contribution, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno) commended the federal government for allocation to the agriculture sector and the North East Development Commission (NEDC).

The two sectors got N83billion and N38billion respectively.

Monguno said: “Our population is growing at geometric progression, and our ability to put food on the table is growing at arithmetic progression And agriculture is the most important way of solving unemployment; I am happy that N83billion has been earmarked for agriculture, although we are far away from Maputo declaration on food security. But the fact is that this govt is investing in agriculture is commendable.”

Also speaking in support of the bill, Luke Onofioke (PDP, Akwa Ibom) commended the President for the commitment to move the budget to January-December fiscal circle, while also commending the Federal Government for investments in sea ports in the Niger Delta.

“I will like to commend the President for bringing it in time, so that we can move to January to December. We are now at the year 2020 we used to look at. We were promised infrastructure in 2020, we were promised sustained growth in 2020, now we are moving to the year 2020.

“Of importance is the increase in recurrent expenditure, which the president explained is to take care of minimum wage, and funding of salary of security personnel, because over the years their morale has been low, it is important that they are paid.

“Another increase is the statutory transfer to Human Rights Commission; this is commendable. Another is social infrastructure: it is important to build the infrastructure but the stomach infrastructure is important also.”

In his contribution, Mr. Rotimi Agunsoye (APC, Lagos) urged the National Population Commission (NPC) to conduct a new census to ensure proper national planning.

“I will like to talk on population census, if we are planning, we must know the population of the actual Nigerians, the last census was in 2006, and we are 2019, we have been estimating our population, it is important that we know the population, so that we can know our needs.

“We need census for us to plan. The implementation is important. How do we control our population. The issue is our borders, our borders are porous.”

The budget debate was subsequently suspended till Thursday for continuance.

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