Members of the House of Representatives across the party divides – the ruling APC and opposition PDP – seem to be united in expressing reservations over the 2018 budget proposal before the national assembly.
No progress was made at plenary on Tuesday as the honorable members took turns in expressing their reservations concerning the bill. Here are the two key issues raised:
Non-implementation of 2017 appropriation act and 2018 Revenue Projections
Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, Lagos APC said, “I have one or two reservations about the budget, such as the dedication of about 22% of our budget to debt servicing,” he said. He also said the revenue projections were audacious. “But we know that as at last week, the total receivables that this government has got was one-tenth of what was stated publicly.”
This concern was shared by an APC representative from Borno state, Muhammed Monguno who said the implementation was the main deal and not the budget passage. “The country has generated 18% above the 2017 oil benchmark,” he said citing a report on Daily Trust newspaper, “by this report, implementation should have exceeded 60%, this means there is a problem somewhere. There is a need for legislative intervention in budget implementation.”
Violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act
Concerns were raised by a PDP Rep from Rivers State, Kingsley Chinda, who said the budget proposal could not be considered as the House is yet to approve the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). He suggested there has been a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
Another representative, an APC Rep from Ogun State, Isiaka Ibrahim queried the assessment in the MTEF presented to the house. “Who conducted the need assessment of our various constituencies?” Isiaka asked noting that it does not accurately represent the situation in his constituency. “People are still sleeping on Ifo/Sango/Abeokuta road despite the fact that it was in 2017 budget and I can’t see it in 2018 budget. We currently have abandoned projects across the country.”