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Reps open debate on 2021 budget

by Business News Report

Federal Legislators have opened debate on the 2021 Appropriation bill of N13.08 trillion with the view to passing it for second reading. President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday, October 8, laid the bill before the house for consideration. Leading the debate, the Majority Leader, Rep. Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano), said that the Bill was for an Act to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, the total sum of N13.8 trillion.

Doguwa said that N484.4 trillion is earmarked for Statutory Transfers, N3.3 trillion for Debt Service while N5.5 trillion is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure.

The lawmaker said that the sum of N3.6 trillion is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021. Doguwa said that the budget which is tagged “budget of recovery and resilience” was to consolidate on the achievement of the 2020 budget and to deal with factors that militated against the full implementation of the 2020 budget.

He urged members to diligently consider the budget as the ball was now in the court of the legislators.

The leader said that members should collaborate with the Executive to pass the budget as failure in Executive was also failure in the Legislature. Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas (APC-Adamawa) recommended a reduction in cost of governance to save funds for infrastructural development. He also stressed the need to reduce foreign borrowing and recommending internal borrowing for the growth of the economy. Rep. Thomas Ereyitomi (PDP-Delta) said that members must review the budget as proposed by the Executive with a view to diversifying the economy. He said that if the budget was passed as presented, it would not meet the aspirations of constituents.

Rep. Olanrewaju Kunle from Ekiti said that there was need for the Executive and Legislature to interact before the budget was presented. He said that there was little or nothing the members could do when the budget was presented given the time available.

According to him, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) while preparing the budget should interact with members of the legislature to know the needs of constituents. Rep. Shehu Koko (APC-Kebbi) said that in addition to the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Kebbi were suffering devastating impact of flood. He said that roads and bridges had collapsed and the 2021 budget made no provision for intervention in spite of the state’s contribution to national rice production. Koko appealed to the lawmakers to consider making provisions for the welfare of victims of flood in Kebbi. Also, Rep. Abdullahi Alims (APC-Kogi) made case for more funds for the mining sector of the economy.

Alims said that the sector had the capacity to provide jobs for the youth in the country and boost the economy. NAN reports that the debate will continue on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

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