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2021 budget weighed down by oil boom hangover says Abaribe

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2021 budget weighed down by oil boom hangover says Abaribe

**Lawan, deputy whip, others tackle Abaribe

The senate minority leader Eyinaya Abaribe has faulted the 2021 budget which he said failed to realise that oil boom has fizzled out.

Speaking on the floor of the senate chamber yesterday while contributing to the debate on the 2021 budget of N13.82trillion he said the proposal does not reflect an understanding that the world has changed and that the nation’s problems have intensified.
“The oil era is fading out, but the government retains an attitude of business-as-usual. This is not a time for tokenistic ideas. Nigeria needs big ideas. This 2021 budget proposal failed to deliver on that point.”
However, Lawan would not allow Abaribe to escape without being challenged as he reminded him that the budget proposal is an estimate and assumption adding that it is what every Government has done since 1999 and will continue to be.
“Concentrate on those things you think we can do to make this budget perform optimally.
But Abaribe countered Lawan asking rhetorically that if the budget is based on assumption as he said, “why are you not assuming properly? We should not also be assuming the wrong things.’
“So we are also going to look at the assumptions so that we know what we are assuming about, so we want to go ahead as the 2021 budget do not reflect an understanding of the fundamental challenges that beset this country.
“How would you budget 100% when you know you are going to get 30%.
“Every year we have a budget in which the capital budget and the debt are almost equal what does that tell us, how do we go forward from there?
“This budget is nothing but what Fela had said ‘Old news, everytime the same old news, nothing new”
He said a review of
Nigeria’s 2021 federal budget proposal reads like a template from yesteryears; just with different numbers.
He added that it presents no overarching economic philosophy.
“While Nigeria postures as a capitalistic economy, Buhari’s 2021 federal budget deemphasises the role of the markets in addressing the challenges in the economy, and seeks to expand the size of government.
“While socialism has its values, the arguments are in favour of capitalism. Governments should never do that which the markets are better able to accomplish.
“This position is even more compelling in a country like Nigeria, where it is difficult to find a true believer in the fact that the government is more efficient and effective than the markets.

“For instance, the 2021 budget proposes the building of new healthcare centres, procurement and equipping of numerous primary healthcare centres.
“While this makes for a good political headline, it is not different from what was done in the past that resulted in a substandard healthcare system.
“The 2021 budget does not reflect an understanding of the fundamental challenges with providing healthcare services in Nigeria.

He said, the budget does not reflect any actions to encourage private sector investments in the health sector.
“Most Nigerians acknowledge that the bureaucracy is too big and unwieldy; yet, the Buhari administration is focused on expanding the bureaucracy.
“For instance, the 2021 budget proposes to establish five new Federal Science and Technology Centres.
“The budget does not reflect an understanding of why the education system has failed or what needs to be done to fix it.”
According to him, building new centres when the old centres are substandard does not address the rot in the system.
Also he said, throwing good money after bad ideas is what got Nigeria in this rot in the first place.
“Building Without Foundations The revenue and expenditure activities proposed by the 2021 budget do not provide any evidence that they are based on a well-considered development agenda.

He said it is evident that the 2021 budget is not informed or
guided by an overall development plan and it explains why the items appear to be drawn at random without a coherent plan.
While the 2021 budget acknowledges that a new development plan, Nigeria Agenda 2050, is been developed, there is no evidence that a post-mortem
(impact assessment) has been conducted on the expired ERGP (or any of the earlier development agenda).
“What did the ERGP achieve? What failed?
What lessons have been learnt? How will these lessons inform the new
development agenda? “Nigeria may continue to stumble around as long as it fails to embrace the practice of honest evaluation.
“It is commendable to see that the current administration has prioritised the
completion of the “most critical projects”. This point was repeated in a few places in the budget. “However, there is no mention of the development plan
that should be the basis for establishing what is critical on the list. “Ascribing priority to a project is subjective unless it is guided by empirical evidence on
what Nigerians have agreed to be critical to achieve development.
“As it stands today, there is no document that outlines what development means
for the country and how such development should be attained.”
After Abaribes Contribution Lawan again said if he were the minority leader he would have spoken in the same brilliant manner.
“Let me say this, the 2014 budget, go and fact check, had only 15% for capital Budget when the administration then had plenty of money.”

Deputy chief whip
Sabi Abdullahi said Abaribe was merely just playing to the gallery of the opposition
“This administration budget is that of recovery and resilience, I know what recovery means as a Veterinary Doctor I know what it means to being an animal back to recovery. This Government understand that the country is not all well
He said the Senate leader in his presentation had given the history of where the country is comming from and why Nigeria found itself in the present mess.
“It is very clear and true to say that for the good management if the economy by this administration Nigeria would have been worse.
“We knew we were in recession in 2016, for us to have walked ourselves back alluded to good management of scarce resources.
“We know the challenges of our economy is infrastructural deficit.
Today this Government is gradually walking back our infrastructural deficit.
He said there is no harm in borrowing, however he said what matters is what the loan is taken for

Orji Uzor merely defended the Federal Government as he also tackled Abaribe for shredding the budget.

Leading the debate earlier the senate leader yahayaya Abdullahi (Kebbi  North) had raised a controversial issue when he took a swipe at those advocates of restructuring of the country saying they are working to disintegrate the country.

“We are all witnesses to the cacophony of voices and opinions of some leading members of our society, our compatriots who out of genuine concerns, frustration, sense of entitlement or sheer political bravado, call for the dismemberment of this nation or for public disobedience through which they hope to bring down the government of the day, thereby truncating our hard won democratic journey. 

“The constitutional reform process is there in the National Assembly to satisfy the earnings and aspirations of Nigerians for restructuring and reshaping our federation to make it an inclusive and all-embracing polity.

“We as Senators of the Federal Republic, should not contemplate the dangerous and destabilizing temptations of dismembering our federation. 

“We must stand by the honour of our status, our convictions and our oath of office which is to preserve ana protect the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians, as a whole. 

“We are obliged to place the social and economic challenges we face today in their proper historical perspectives with a View to determining the best course of action for our people and our nation at this point in history.”

However, a former deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu countered him saying rather the proponents of restructuring are the patriotic Nigerians.

He said the advocates of restructuring are not calling for dismemberment of Nigeria, “As my Friend I withdraw that aspect”




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Legislature

Nasarawa Assembly orders revocation of contract by SUBEB

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Nasarawa Assembly orders revocation of contract by SUBEB

From Daniel Abel, Lafia

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly has directed the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB to revoke the contract for the construction of two blocks of classroom and office at LGEA Primary School Sabon Gida, Kokona LGA over shoddy job.

The contract which is been handled by a contractor, Five and Seven Furniture. according to the house, has no competence to deliver the contract

The Chairman,House Committee on Education Science and Technology Hon. Daniel Ogazi gave the directive when the contractor and other defaulting contractors along side the management of SUBEB appeared before the committee in Lafia on Monday.

Hon. Ogazi noted that the inspection visit by the committee to the sites of the ongoing SUBEB school projects across the state is born out of the need to address incompetency and poor contractual performance.

The Chairman disclosed that right from the foundation, five and Seven Furniture has shown its inability to deliver quality job, hence the need for the revocation.

He warned all contractors handling SUBEB projects in the state to adhere strictly to their contract specifications as the committee will not spare anyone found wanting.

Responding, the SUBEB chairman Mohammed Musa Danazumi commenced the committee noting that the inspection by the assembly is helping greatly as most of the contractors are beginning to sit up tight

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Legislature

NNPC Spends whooping N966 billion for pipeline repairs

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NNPC Spends whooping N966 billion for pipeline repairs

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said it spent a whooping N966 billion for repairs of pipeline between 2010 to 2015.

This was coming in response to a query by Senate Committee on Public Account chaired by Senator Mathew Uhroghide over alleged unremitted N4 trillion by the corporation into the federation account.

The Committee relied on the 2016 report of Auditor General of the Federation which accused the NNPC of non-remmittance of N4 trillion into the Federation Account.

The Query stated “It was observed upon scrutiny of NNPC report to the Technical Sub- Committee of Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting held in December 2016 that a cumulative total of N4,076,548,336,749.75 remained unremitted to the Federation Account by NNPC as at 31st December 2016.

“The total revenue unremitted as at 1st January 2016 (see the table above) from amounts payable into the Federation Account by NNPC was ₦3,878,955,039,855.73 was.

“The sum of N1,198,138,355,860.30 was due in revenue to the Federation Account out of the total generated in 2016, however, NNPC paid the sum of N1,000,545,058,966.20
resulting in an amount withheld of N197,593,296,894.02. This brought the total amount withheld by NNPC from the Federation Account as at 31 December 2016.”

But, NNPC in a written response to the Committee claimed that the unremitted N4 trillion was arrived at without taking cognizance of the subsidy and pipeline repairs and management associated with domestic crude oil transaction.

It said, ” subsidy approved and certified by PPRA from 2010-2015 stood at the N4 trillion. Also in 2016 OMS under recovery stood at the N28.6 billion which brings the total unrecognized subsidy /PMS under recovery to N4 trillion.

“Aside the above, pipeline repairs and products losses so incurred stood at N966 billion for the same period.”

The NNPC is expected to appear before the Senate Committee this week to give clarification on the issue raised in the Auditor General report over non – remittance of N4 trillion into federation account.

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Legislature

Senate uncorvers misappropraition of N2b meant for Federation Account by Ministry of Solid Mineral

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Senate uncorvers misappropraition of N2b meant for Federation Account
by Ministry of Solid Mineral

The Senate Committee on Public accounts has uncovered non remittance of N2 billion into Federation account by Ministry of Solid Minerals.
The said amount was meant to be remitted into the federation account but was diverted to private pockets.

The panel upon scrutiny of FAAC records discovered that the amount was not paid into the federation account as required by law in 2015, it therefore issued a querry for the ministry appear before it to explain

The query reads, “During examination of FAAC records, we observed that a cumulative total of N9,923,015,028.00 Solid Minerals revenue collected in 2015 was not paid into the Federation Account in the year ended 31st December 2016.

“We noted that the Ministry reported the same total revenue figure for years 2014, 2015 and 2016. From records presented for audit, it was also noted that the sum of N2,838,351,664.97 was collected as solid mineral revenue from January to December, 2016 but this amount was not paid into the Federation Account for distribution in 2016 contrary to section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel has been
requested to explain why the Ministry failed to pay the revenues collected into the Federation Account as required by the constitution.”

The Ministry however failed to respond to the query of the Auditor general on the issue of non-remittance of N2 billion Into the Federation Account.

The Committee however resolved to also summon the officials of the Ministry to explain why the Ministry declined to remit the said amount into federation account.
No response was received at the time of this report.

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