26th January, 2016
The Appropriation Bill 2016 passed the second reading in the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday.
This emanated from a unanimous adoption of the bill for a second reading by the lawmakers during plenary. The bill extensively debate by the lawmakers, was referred to the Committee on Appropriation and its relevant sub-committees by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
Leading the debate, Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Leo Ogor, described the budget as incomplete According to Ogor, the budgets of some government agencies are conspicuously not in the document.
He said Nigeria was confronted with economic challenges, “there is therefore the need to give Nigerians a budget that will stand the test of time.”
Rep. Samson Okwu (Benue-PDP), said the drop in the budget’s benchmark for crude oil price from 38 dollars per barrel to 28 dollars had negatively affected government’s revenue projections in the budget.
Okwu called on government at all levels to diversify into non oil revenue sources.
Rep. Osai Osai (Delta-PDP), said the 2016 budget had shortfalls in its capital projections. According to him, all government agencies that have statutory transfer status were not captured, while others that were captured have no such status.
Rep. Prestige Osy (Abia-PDP), said the budget lacked immediate plans on ways to diversify government revenue from oil resources.
Osy said there was the need for a reduction in domestic borrowing and deficit expenditure in order to be able to manage inflation and increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Rep. Dennis Agbo (Enugu-PDP), argued that it was a contradiction to devalue the naira while encouraging export.
“The country’s foreign exchange reserve will continue to shrink due to this”, he said.
Agbo urged the Federal Government to remove subsidy on all petroleum products.
Rep. Jerry Alagboso (Imo-PDP), said the fund earmarked for road construction in the budget was not enough to tackle the infrastructure decay in all federal roads across the country.
Rep Mark Gbillah (Benue-APC), said the House should scrutinise all the items in the budget to ensure that Nigerians got value for their money.
The legislator advised President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a budget team with the mandate to properly scrutinise the document before approval.
The Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Abdulmumini Jibrin, asked agencies under the Ministry of Finance to step up efforts toward raising money to fund the budget.
He also charged committees on effective oversight to ensure that the budget was properly implemented. Buhari had, on December 22, 2015 presented the 2016 budget proposal of N6.08 trillion to the National Assembly.