Senators have expressed divergent views over the possibility of the 2017 budget in getting the country of economic recession.
At the debate on general principles of the appropriation bill, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said nothing has changed, and that the proposal cannot get the country out of recession.
According to him, purchase of five BMW cars, five Toyota Land Cruisers for the State House is outrageous, pointing out that N1.3billion budgeted for catering equipment in the State House is shocking.
The N7,298,507,709,937 2017 budget has Statutory Transfers of N419,020,684,000, Debt Servicing of N1,663,885,430,499, Sinking Fund for Maturing Bonds: N177,460,296,707, Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure: N2,979,151,756,196 and Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure: N2,058,989,578,536.
The budget is predicated on benchmark oil price of $42.5 per barrel, projected oil production of 2.2million barrels per day, exchange rate of N305 to $1 as well as projected GDP Growth Rate of 4.37 percent.
President Buhari had submitted the proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 14, 2017.
In his contribution, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu expressed concern that 30 percent of the budget will be used to service debt this year.
“We have started well, no missing 2017 Budget, all information produced, improvement arising from the last budget. I have a problem with the social intervention program; it is not sustainable with the tax regime”.
The President intends to partly finance the budget with about N2.32trillion loan. Breakdown of the loan shows that while the president intends to source about N1.067trillion from external sources, the balance of N1.254trillion will be sourced from the domestic market.
In his submission, Barnabas Gemade said regardless of the recession, the nation can balance borrowing with revenue.
According to him, the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA) should be major players in getting the country out of recession.
President Buhari had proposed the sum of N50billion to finance both BoI and BoA in the 2017 budget.
Also, Joshua Lidani commended the President on the 2017 Budget and said that it will go a long way in promoting growth to develop the economy.
“FG has no business in funding schools, it should be the States. Substantial grants should be allocated to the power sector,” Lidani stated.
Debate on the budget continues today.