Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) on Wednesday in Abuja, berated the 2016 budget, stating that, it is not a budget of ‘Change’. He then called on President Muhammaduu Buhari to withdraw it and go back to the drawing board.
“Mr President, a budget that moves domestic spending within Aso Villa from N580 million to N1.7 billion cannot be a budget of change,” he said.
Abaribe while making contributions during the consideration of the budget, said the proposal was faulty on many grounds and could not be implemented at it was.
He said that predication of oil benchmark at 38 dollars per barrel when the crude oil price had fallen below 30 dollars per barrel made the budget unrealistic.
Abaribe faulted the government for increasing spending by 30 per cent based on borrowing.
“Mr President, my colleagues, this budget is indeed unique. After the budget presentation, the finance minister has never come to explain the details of the budget as it is normally done.
“It is a budget of change I agree, but it is a change in the wrong direction. I say it is a change in the wrong direction because it says that it is based on zero budgeting requiring all expenses to be fully justified.
“Mr President, a budget that increases spending up to 30 per cent based solely on borrowing, in what way are we justified? That is the question we want to ask the people who brought this budget.
“We know what is going on in the global economy: this budget is predicated on an oil benchmark of 38 dollars per barrel and I can now say that with oil being 28 dollars today, this budget is dead on arrival.
“The job of the opposition is to help the government to get its priorities right, so I want to please urge this government to withdraw this budget and go back to the drawing board,” he said.
The senator also faulted the adjustments made in the budget as well as allocation for spending in the Aso Rock Villa, saying that it was too exorbitant.
He said that the adjustments rather than reduce spending in areas where they were not necessary only spread it into different offices.
“We were told that in the revised budget there was an adjustment due to error, we agree but what has happened is that up to N7 billion were moved from buying vehicles and spread to offices.
“It also increased the spending that is due to renovations within the Villa.
“They are going to renovate the Villa with N3.9 billion: what else do you want to renovate there that Nigerians will see in the Year 2016?” he asked.