Buhari:2019 Budget,My Last In My First Term In Office?

 By Our Reporters

For much of last week and Wednesday, December 19, 2019, there were fears, that Bukola Saraki theSenate President and Yakubu Dogara, Speaker, House of Representatives may not want to give President Muhammadu Buhari, the necessary Cooperation to allow him present the 2019 fiscal budget to the joint session of the National Assembly .

The fear became heightened when the Saraki led Senate,stepped down the confirmation of four nominees of the President recently as members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The Value News learnt that the All Progressive Congress, APC, Senators did everything within their powers to get the PDP Senators to support the Presidential nominees for the anti-graft agency board but got it wrong. The anger of the PDP Senators was the lopsidedness in the EFCC nomination that had been made by Buhari since 2016.  

The Senators were also said to have suspended the confirmation of the Chairman and members of Board  of the Independent  Corrupt Practices and other Related  Offences Commission, ICPC and nominees for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Given the frosty relationship of the National Assembly and the Executives, many have expected Buhari to face a hostile joint NationalAssembly in the presentation of the 2019 budget. Eyewitness said  political differences may have been set asideas Saraki , Dogara and other principal officers of the Senate and the House ofRepresentatives warmly welcomed the President to the 2019 Budget presentationwhich he said, may be his last in his four years in office to which theLawmakers shouted a thunderous Amen.

The shout of Amen by the Lawmakers to his opening speech that the budget presentation may be his last for his first term in office may have sent a signal to him that winning the 2019 Presidential election against his closest rival Atiku Abubakar the PDP Presidential Candidate  would be an uphill task.

The President may have lost his cool when he saw the way things were going that he had no option but to advise the Lawmakers to be ”cautious and mindful of the importance of the day as the whole world are watching the proceedings which they did not funny.

A source told The Value News that security operatives including the Department of State Security, DSS, personnel, took over the National Assembly premises to avoid a breakdown of law and order until the President was done with his presentation.

Bukola Saraki: President Of Senate

 He may have contradicted himself when he said the ”economy has recovered from recession”, forcing the Opposition PDP lawmakers to ”boo and jeer” at him. They may have their reason. He had told the governors last week to tightened up their belt because the ”economy was in bad shape”. 

Buhari, the APC, Presidential Candidate, may have turned the  Hallowed Chambers of the2019 Budget presentation as a Campaign ground when he said the ”APC government have done more work with less resources in Agriculture, Social Development and Infrastructure”. He was alluding to the sixteen years of waste of the PDP in government.  

Yemi Osibanjo, Vice President, said that much during theVice Presidential Debate to prepare the ground for the Presidential for the 2019 Presidential election. The claim that the APC had more in reshaping the economy with less resources by having polarised the lawmakers into two camps: APC and PDP. The PDP  Lawmakers may not have been enthused when he said that ”Inflation has declined  from 18.2 percent in January  to 11.28 percent in November,2018”.

In presenting the N8.83 trillion, 2019 proposed budget to the National Assembly, Buhari, who never looked up until after presentation of Budget speech said ” it is for their consideration and passage”. He was saidto have  pleaded with the Lawmakers , whowere waiting to hear their own budgetary allocation  to expedite action in the passage of thebudget . 

A tough talking Buhari has every reason to pleaded with the lawmakers  to work on the facilitate early passage as the budget falls on the 2019 election year. ”We can all commit to the early passage of the budget’, he said.

Giving a breakdown of the budget, the President disclosed that it has been prepared on the assumptions of the sales of 2.3 million barrels at the International oil market per day at $60 based on an official exchange rate of  N305.00 to one United States dollar.

Out of the total budget, he said N4.04  trillion would be spent on recurrent expenditure while N2.031 would be spent on Capital Expenditure, Debt Service- N2.14 trillion, Statutory transfer- N492.36 billion, and Sinking Fund -N120 billion.

He further said that N65 billion for amnesty program in the Niger Delta, N45billion  for the northeast intervention fund and an additional N10 billion for the northeast Development Commission, NEDC. This is in addition to the capitalisation of the  Bank ofAgriculture and Bank of Industry with N15 billion while N10 billion has been set aside for Small and Medium Scale Industries, SMEs.

Being an election year and to ensure adequate security to give the electorate confidence in casting their votes in all states of the federation including the Boko Haram troubled states of Adamawa, Borno , Yobe,in the northeast , the Buhari  led APC government was said to have allocated  the lion share of the budget to the ministries and agencies concerned  with the internal and external security of the nation. They are the ministries of Interior and Defense. The ministry of Interior has Abdulrahman Dambazau, aretired  army General and former Chief ofarmy Staff as the minister while Mansur Dan Ali, a retired Brigadier Generalheads the ministry of Defense.

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