Thursday, 18 April, 2024


FG, Obi clash on 2023 supplementary budget

The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi and the Federal Government have disagreed on the N2.17 trillion 2023 Supplementary Budget signed into law by President Bola Tinubu.

While the the former governor of Abia State said the budget  showed how insensitive and uncaring the APC-government is to the plight of the masses, lauded it as a bold and pragmatic response to address the current economic challenges in the country and admonished Obi to acquaint himself with its details.

In a post on his verified X handle (formerly known as Twitter) Obi said there were pressing issues relating to national welfare which were totally ignored in the budget in favour of trivial matters like the purchase of presidential yacht, renovation of presidential lodge and purchase of luxury vehicles.

He said: “A supplementary budget is a budget made for very important national welfare needs of the people which were not captured originally in the main budget, or do not have adequate funding.

“Admittedly, some items in the current budget may not have taken into consideration the needs of a new administration, but it is expected that a supplementary budget this late in the financial year should reflect mostly urgent items of national welfare.

“Sadly, the most pressing national needs and emergencies have not featured in the supplementary budget that was just announced by the government. For example, the United Nations and World Food Programme recently warned that up to 6.5 million Nigerians will go hungry next year.

“This number is largely from among citizens in Sokoto, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, and Zamfara States. A caring Government in order to plan for the mitigation of such pending catastrophe can request for supplementary budget provisions to cushion those under threat.

“No item of urgent social welfare has yet featured in the supplementary budget being orchestrated by this government. Instead, the items being made to dominate public discourse on the budget include a mysterious Presidential Yacht, Presidential Jets, the furnishing of already lavishly furnished presidential quarters and offices, fleets of luxury SUVs etc.

“This portrays a government that is totally uncaring and insensitive to the suffering of the majority, and indifferent to the mood of the nation.

“The government’s overall attitude does not indicate that it is aware that the country is in a huge crisis, nor is the government in tune with the plight of the generality of our people. Even worse is the fact that most of the funding for these profligate expenditures will be largely borrowed.

“The least that Nigerians expect from the government at this difficult moment is empathy and realism, not lavish indulgence.”

In a swift reply, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, said highlights of the budget captured allocations for essential sectors including security; agriculture and food security, works and housing, wage increase for workers, student loan scheme, social safety nets, among others.

“All these aimed at strengthening the country’s economic foundation and improve the living conditions of Nigerians.

“The broad provisions in the supplementary budget is a reflection of President Tinubu’s strong desire and eagerness to support the vital functions of government.

“These include addressing urgent security needs, and fast-track the country’s recovery process from the economic impact occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy.”

Idris urged the opposition parties to be informed and balanced in the exercise of their right to differing opinions and refrain from misrepresentation of facts for political gains.

He said the supplementary budget was derived from the active engagement and consultations with relevant stakeholders who ensured that the budgetary provisions aligned with the needs and expectations of Nigerians.

“In line with President Tinubu’s inclination to accountability and transparency in government expenditure, all items in the supplementary budget have been meticulously scrutinised to ensure efficient utilisation of public funds.”

Credit: Daily Sun


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