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Union leaders task FG on projects monitoring

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President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2016 Budget into law. With him were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (5th left); Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (left); Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; Senate President Bukola Saraki; President’s Special Advisers on National Assembly, Mr. Sumaila Kawu (House); Senator Ita Enang (Senate), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2016 Budget into law. With him were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (5th left); Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (left); Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; Senate President Bukola Saraki; President’s Special Advisers on National Assembly, Mr. Sumaila Kawu (House); Senator Ita Enang (Senate), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Union leaders in the country have urged the Federal Government to closely monitor 34 priority projects for implementation in 2016 budget to ensure that they are well executed.

The union leaders in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday commended the Executive and Legislature for amicable settlement after months of haggling over the budget.

NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on May 6 signed the N6.06 trillion 2016 Appropriation Bill into law at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The signing was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun.

The budget is expected to stimulate the nation’s slowing economy, which took a hit as the price of crude oil, Nigeria’s main export, collapsed in the global market.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said that the budget was long overdue, adding that all hands must be on the desk to ensure effective implementation of the budget.

Wabba urged the Federal Government to ensure that the 34 priority projects of the budget were executed according to the provisions in the budget.

He said that most of the budget passed before were not monitored properly.

“Before the signing, the Federal Government had outlined 34 projects and programmes, which would be accorded utmost priority to ensure optimal performance of the 2016 budget.

“These programmes should be monitored by all and sundry.

“This is the budget of change, so government should waste no time in commencing disbursement of funds,’’ he said.

Mr Oluwaseyi Gambo, the former National Public Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, said “with the signing of the budget, the country should witness infrastructure development, employment and a dynamic economy.

“A budget is an inclination of what government wants to do.

“However, our economy is fragile and international dynamics like the rise or fall of oil price, dollar exchange rate, all have a corresponding immediate effect on us.

“We should pray that the funding matrix of the budget as highlighted by government is not derailed.

“Our economy seems to be controlled by unseen hands, because we have, for decades, paid lip service to building a robust economy with little reliance on petrol dollar.

“Now that we have a budget we expect to see projects, infrastructure development, employment, a dynamic economy devoid of past arrested development.

“We expect a general improvement in our standard of living, more money in the pocket and less strikes and civil unrest; businesses should pick up with the injection of N350 billion into the economy,’’ he said.

Gambo urged the government to ensure that all projects in the budget were implemented, adding that economic hardship was really affecting the generality of the people.

He also called on union leaders to be alive to their responsibility as watch dogs of their immediate environment by ensuring that there is no diversion of funds from specific items as stated in the budget.

Mr Tokunbo Korodo, the South West Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) commended the government for signing the budget.

According to Korodo, all the ministries need to urgently spring into action because much is expected from the government after the passage of the budget.

“This will showcase their change agenda,’’ Korodo said.


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