2020 Budget: Opposition Law Makers condemn secret budget sessions

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led opposition in the House of Representatives yesterday, faulted the N10.33 trillion 2020 budget, insisting on thorough legislative scrutiny of the estimates, to ensure too they reflect the wishes of over 200 million Nigerians.

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (Delta-PDP), in a statement he personally signed and issued to the media yesterday, said that 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 yearning of Nigerians before the budget is passed into law”. The Minority Leader stressed that Nigerians were depending on them, to “to protect their interest in critical issues that directly affects their lives, particularly on budget planning and implementation in key sectors.”

The opposition caucus 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”. According to the Minority Leader, “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 scrutinized to guarantee full implementation as well as reflect the federal character principle across board”. The minority leadership said it received with shock, news reports, that certain committees barred the media from covering their budget defence sessions.

The Minority Leader insisted that budget defence must be in the “open and more so, transparent, so that Nigerians are fully carried along in all the processes leading to budgetary decisions in all critical sectors”, noting that “the minority leader has, therefore, directed all opposition members in various committees, to ensure strict compliance with the democratic principles of transparency, accountability and prudence in the budget planning as well as in the implementation oversight of both the capital and recurrent components”.

The opposition members also assured that further it is “poised to fully monitor the implementation of special intervention funds for the unemployed as well as the welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East and other parts of the country to ensure that the money is not diverted as witnessed in the past under a former Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF)”. The minority leadership assured that the opposition will 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. Vanguard