Opposition parties kick, urge openness in 2020 budget consideration
The opposition political parties in the House of Representatives have faulted the decision by some committees to allegedly bar the media from the coverage of the ongoing 2020 budget defence sessions.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement yesterday insisted that the exercise must be in the open and more so, be transparent, so that “Nigerians are fully carried along in all the processes leading to budgetary decisions in all critical sectors.”The parties directed their members in various committees to ensure strict compliance with the “democratic principles of transparency, accountability and prudence in the budget planning and implementation oversight of both the capital and recurrent components.”
The lawmakers stated that they were poised to fully monitor the implementation of special intervention funds for the unemployed and welfare of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North East and other parts of the country to avoid fund diversion or misapplication. Elumelu reiterated their resolve to take a “critical look at all revenue projections from Value Added Tax (VAT) and other tax regimes so as to ensure equity and fairness as well as to guarantee that the masses are not overburdened in the process.”
The group, comprising mainly members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also picked holes in the N10.33 trillion budget, insisting that the estimates would be subjected to “thorough legislative scrutiny to ensure that it reflects the general aspiration of the over 200 million Nigerians.”The legislators said though the House had resolved to pass the budget before the end of the year, “the details, particularly the capital expenditure items and implementation modules must meet the yearnings of Nigerians before the budget is passed into law.”
Elumelu noted that the opposition “recognises the fact that Nigerians look up to them to protect their interest on critical issues that directly affects their lives, particularly on budget planning and implementation in key sectors.”Consequently, they assured “that the details of the N2.46 trillion capital budget must be dissected and adjusted accordingly, to ensure that critical needs of Nigerians are adequately accommodated as well as to plug waste and eliminate budgetary corruption at every stage.”
The Minority Leader added: “Given the sorry state of our infrastructure, the opposition must ensure that the votes earmarked by Mr. President for the rehabilitation of roads, power infrastructure, health services, agriculture, water resources, education, among other critical sectors are thoroughly scrutinised to guarantee full implementation and reflect the federal character principle across board.”
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