ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja
Senators on Tuesday took the 2018 Federal Budget proposal of N8.612 trillion to the cleaners saying the budget estimate is dead on arrival. Most of the senators who spoke across party line stated that N11trillion collectible revenue proposed in the budget cannot be realised considering what happened in the previous years.
The lawmakers also requested for the increase in the oil price bench mark from $45 to $50per barrel. First to speak on the budget proposal was Senator Ehinaya Abaribe (POD Abia) who described the revenue projection of N11 trillion in the budget as unrealistic.
According to him,’ since the 2018 Budget is projected to consolidate on the gains made by the 2017 Budget and the 2017 Budget whoch performance percentage is just about 15%, automatically the 2018 Budget proposals are done on wrong projections which to me , is dead on arrival “.
However, Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan objected against Abaribe’s comment on revenue projection. Also speaking against the budget, Senator Joshua Lidani said the revenue projection in the budget is nothing but building on quick sand and very weak foundation .Senator Abubakar Yusuf wondered whether President Muhammadu Buhari ever gives any of the budget proposals prepared for him by bureaucrats serious attention before presenting them to the National Assembly going by the yearly heavy shortfalls in revenue projections
He said rather for the Presidency to critically look into what can be done in making agencies responsible for non oil revenue generation to brace up , it keeps projecting unrealisable revenue collections on yearly basis as experienced this year where only N155bn was realised out of the projected N807bn independent revenue generation .
Even the Senate deputy whip Francis Alimekhena ( APC Edo North), faulted the budget proposals which he described as overbloated and unrealisable .” Year in, year out, we are faced with bloated budget estimates that cannot achieve performance implementation beyond 15% it achieved this year “, he noted.
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