Senator Bukola Saraki called for a 2019 financial bill following the budget presentation of President Buhari – The Senate president noted that the country’s economy was still fragile – Saraki said the dip in oil price has greatly affected the country Senate president Bukola Saraki has spoken hours after President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget presentation saying the economy is still fragile.
Saraki in a statement on Wednesday, December 19, noted that the dip in oil price played a major role in the country’s economy while also noting that the recession the country experienced affected businesses. According to him, the last three-and-a-half years have been eventful ones at the global level and domestic economy. He said from dips in oil prices to major shifts in the economic landscape, crude oil production shut-ins and security challenges, the economy and Nigerians have been directly impacted by these events.
He said: “Many businesses closed down and many people lost their jobs during the recent recession. In the same period, we lost innocent citizens to insurgency in parts of the North East, thousands were displaced, and many lives also lost due to clashes between farmers and herders, in addition to the general hardship unleashed by unstable economic winds. “The recovery from the recession is still fragile. The fundamentals underlying the recovery remain weak, and if unchecked, can lead to dire consequences. The economy still runs on oil and very little progress has been made in terms of diversification. As a result, the expansionary budget policy in effect since 2016, which was aimed at raising spending and stimulating growth in the economy, was not matched by achievable revenue targets. The corollary is higher and rising deficit as well as a considerable debt burden, all due to an unsustainable fiscal stance.
“The under-performance of independent revenues is straining government’s ability to meet its expenditure, especially investments in critical infrastructure. This further exposes government to higher deficit levels which have been largely financed by borrowing.” Saraki noted that if revenue challenges are not dealt with, this may lead to higher debt with higher repayment cost a reduction in capital budget which would mean a slow-down in government investment in critical infrastructure. “It is for these reasons that the National Assembly required that the 2018 Budget proposal and future ones be accompanied by a Finance Bill, which would give credence to the financial proposals of government. It is one way of establishing credibility in projected revenues. It is imperative, therefore, that a 2019 Finance Bill is submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and approval,” he added.
Meanwhile, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has attributed the rowdiness that characterised President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget presentation at the National Assembly to lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Premium Times reports that the party, which condemned the action, made this known in a statement by its publicity secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, on Wednesday evening, December 19. Legit.ng gathered that the parliament witnessed a rowdy session during the presentation of the president’s 2019 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.