By Umar Muhammad Puma and Christian Ekpan
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has accused President Muhamamdu Buhari government of consistently failing to fully implement national budgets since 2016.
Briefing journalists shortly after the budget presentation, the PDP lawmakers led by Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema (PDP, Anambra), described the 2019 budget presentation as another hollowed ritual.
“Buhari has tabled another multi-million naira budget, begun since 2015, and soon to be followed, as usual, with excuses for non-performance.
“The truth is that Buhari’s APC government has ensured selective implementation of the 2018 budget even far beyond 40 per cent despite humongous revenues from FIRS, NNPC, Customs and other sources.
“The same applied to the ‘2017 Budget of Recovery’ and ‘2016 Budget of Change,’ which neither spurred growth nor stimulated private sector confidence for investments.
“Poor implementation of budgets, especially the capital components, has always been linked with the level of infrastructural decay in Nigeria and under-development of critical sectors of the economy,” Onyema said.
He faulted Buhari’s claims of achievements on the tripod of security, economy and the fight against corruption.
According to him, insecurity has deteriorated under Buhari’s watch, as attested to by recent Amnesty International report; spiraling unemployment reflects defective economy; while “deceptive war against corruption targets only opposition figures.”
In a swift response to the PDP lawmakers’ assertion, House Spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa), lauded the impressive implementation of the 2018 budget, with special regard to critical physical infrastructure.
On the rowdy 2019 budget presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari before the lawmakers, Namdas described it as “democracy in action.”
Although he admitted hitches in the implementation of previous budgets, he expressed optimism that the 2019 budget will take care of critical issues, such as the new minimum wage.
“The implementation of the 2018 budget has been impressive, especially on infrastructure.
“Over 1000 kilometres of roads have been constructed, although we expect more on capital projects.
“The President has directed that all recovered properties be disposed and the proceeds used to fund the 2019 budget.
“Technical committees will also be set up to ensure the implementation of the new minimum wage.
“What happened today at the floor was democracy in action. You saw the ruling party hailing the president and the opposition doing the opposite.
“At the end of the day, the budget was presented and laid before us, that is very important,” Namdas told journalists.