20 January 2015, Abuja – Some members of the senate who contributed to the debate on the 2016 budget in the red chamber on Wednesday expressed doubt over the ability of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to implement the fiscal document based on the current economic realities.
Some of the senators in their contributions maintained that unless there was a drastic downward review of the entire budget size, the oil benchmark and the exchange rate, the Federal Government may end up, embarking on an exercise in futility.
They also cautioned the Buhari led administration against embarking borrowing from local and foreign partners to fund the budget because the fiscal document did not specify any pragmatic means of servicing the loans.
Most of the contributors were also unanimous in their submissions that it was obvious that Federal Government would have to increase its request for foreign loans because of the unfortunate decline in oil revenue which they put at $28 per barrel against the $38 upon which the budget benchmark was predicated.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, asked the executive to consider the downward review of the budget by about 30 percent in order to make it realistic and implementable.
He said, ” I am not an economist but I know that if my income is N100,000 and suddenly I start earning N30,000 and I tell my children that we will now be spending N120,000, they will start wondering where I will get the money.
“The problem we have is that over the years we have seen prosperity and we have adjusted to it and now we are seeing a downward trend in our revenue, but we still don’t seem to be addressing this issue.
“We have always increased the budget of this country from between 10 and 20 per cent, I just want to appeal that for the first time we should be able to reduce that budget by the same 20 to 30 per cent in order for us to be realistic otherwise it will not be implementable.”