The House of Representatives concluded the second reading of the 2020 Appropriation Bill on Thursday and adjourned plenary till October 29, 2019.
During the continuation of the debate on the key assumptions of the annual budget, which began on Wednesday, several lawmakers criticised various aspects and allocations in the financial proposal.
Also, Babajide Obanikoro said the amount allocated to health is grossly inadequate, considering the over 180 million population of Nigeria
In his submission, Yusuf Gagdi, picked holes in the borrowing plan and debt servicing as proposed in the budget. He also stated that the total amount voted to education, about N160bn, was not comparable when considering other African countries. “The capacity of any government is dependent on it’s own educational system. As the Giant of Africa, education budget should supersede others in Africa,” he said.
Also, Mr Toby Okechukwu noted that it was one of the earliest times that a budget was laid before the National Assembly. “Budget since 2015 have always been given names, like Budget of Consolidation, etc. Unfortunately this time around, there is no nickname for this budget,” he said.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who presided over the plenary, referred the bill to the standing committees, also known as Sub-Committees on Appropriations.
Addressing journalists after the plenary, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, noted that the lawmakers have been working on the budget as scheduled.
Kalu also noted that contrary to the public outcry that the National Assembly had become a rubber stamp of the Buhari-led Presidency, the lawmakers had freely criticised the budget, showing that they were not an appendage of the executive.
He said, “Today is Thursday and a lot has happened between Tuesday and today. I want to say that, just as we promised that we are going to support the executive in realising this goal of reversing the budget to a January-December calendar; just as we mentioned that we drew a roadmap towards achieving that, our timetable which we announced here on Tuesday that we would start debate on Wednesday on the general principles of the budget estimates, that actually took place.”