OrderPaperToday-The House of Representatives has passed through second reading, a bill to ensure that 40% of Nigeria’s annual budget is earmarked for capital expenditure.
Sponsored by the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, the bill seeks to ensure that in the next 10 years, allocation to capital expenditure would be fixed on 40% to provide for adequate funding of projects.
Leading debate on the bill on Wednesday on behalf of Gbajabiamila, Reps minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta), said that the bill will correct some imbalances in the budgetary system.
“Take for instance the health budget, World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that 10% should be earmarked for health, but I am sure not up to 10% has ever been earmarked,” he said.
Elumelu noted that “the bill provides that we should set 40% for capital projects, this is what Nigerians are calling for, which is a return on Investment. They want dividends of democracy in terms of infrastructure.
“If Nigerians have water, the ones who want to do laundry, they will not have to dig borehole.”
Speaking in support of the bill, Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau) said that it was revealed during budget defence that MDAs only pay salaries without funding any capital infrastructure.
“This bill is a bill that I believe that each and every member of this chamber will be proud of. Not just that, we are sure that as members, if 40% will be allocated to infrastructure, our constituents will be happy. When you review the budget of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, there are salaries and overheads, but no capital project. This bill, I am sure, will guide the executive to ensure 40% is allocated to infrastructure,” he said.
Also speaking on it, Bamidele Salam (PDP, Osun) argued that the most important thing is implementation of the budget.
“I want to say that the main challenge is implementation of budget. The budget in the past 15 years has been a budget of deficit, although this is a part of global practice, but what is the borrowing used for? This bill will help us to regain the confidence of Nigerians. Every one naira spent on infrastructure creates job,” he argued.
The bill was referred to Committees on Finance and Appropriations for further legislative action.