By Alex Okoro
OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Wednesday commenced debate on the 2016 budget proposal of N6.08 trillion.
Opening the debate, Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos) urged the legislators to facilitate the speedy passage of the budget.
The House Leader, who described the budget proposal as epic and historical, added that it was an inclusive one that seeks to carry all Nigerians along.
Gbajabiamila pointed out that with a N2.2 trillion deficit, it would be the first time that domestic borrowing is higher than foreign borrowing.
According to the budget proposal, figures for domestic borrowing is N984 billion and foreign borrowing is N900 billion.
He further commended the Federal Government’s proposal of the sum of N500 billion for social intervention initiatives adding that it would provide for recruitment and training of 500,000 unemployed graduates.
“It is an epic budget because it is a budget based on the internationally acclaimed zero based budgeting system where every kobo has been newly justified by the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
According to Gbajabiamila, when there is a downturn in the economy you rejig or stimulate the economy by pumping more money into it.
“This is what the proposals contained in this budget seek to do.
“ Stimulate an otherwise wobbling economy by infusing and injecting 6.08 trillion Naira into the economy, particularly its capital component of 1.85 trillion naira, representing 30 per cent of the budget, ‘’Gbajabiamila added.
Contributing to the debate, Rep. Mohammad Monguno (APC-Borno) decried the poor implementation of budgets by previous administrations.
“Year in year out we pass the Appropriation Bill into law, but when it comes to implementation it is haphazard.
“For example for the past four years there was never a time our budget was implemented up to 60 percent so there is need for us to emphasize on the issue of budget implementation,’’ Monguno said.
However, Rep. Abiodun Adeogun (PDP-Osun) said that income projection from the country’s non oil sector is weak.
“When the bill gets to the various committee levels, amendments should be effected to address the non oil revenues,’’ Adeogun said.
Rep. Jimoh Olajide (APC-Lagos) canvassed for the support of the National Assembly crucial in monitoring the implementation of the budget for Nigerians to feel the impact.
He commended the federal government for earmarking N12 billion to rebuild the North-East that was ravaged by insurgency.
Rep. Herman Hembe urged the federal government to ensure it finds means of funding the budget.
“Our job as parliamentarians is to rally round the president and ensure that this budget he brought to us is done justice to so that he will be able to do the best for Nigeria at these difficult times.
“I know that when we pass this budget, Mr President will do everything within his means to ensure that this budget is funded,’’ Hembe said
It could be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget proposal on December 22, 2015.