29 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Senator representing Abia South, Enyinnaya Abaribe on Tuesday said the 2018 budget was “dead on arrival”.
Abaribe, who said this during the debate on the budget at the plenary on the Senate floor, in Abuja, said the assumptions of the budget are “totally wrong and off the mark” and is “dead on arrival”.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented the proposed 2018 budget to the upper and lower chamber of the legislature last month.
The Presidency had said the budget will be passed before January.
However, according to the senator, little to nothing was achieved in 2017 budget, so the proposed budget cannot be called budget of consolidation.
He said, “I’m just quoting the senate leader in his speech – ‘the 2018 budget is designed to consolidate on the achievements of the 2016 and 2017 budget. What was done in 2017 when less than 15 percent of that budget was released? Nothing was done. That was why I said the 2018 budget is fictitious.
“If that is the word that the Senate leader is bothered about, I withdraw the word ‘fictitious’ and say that the 2018 budget is totally imaginary. Because nothing was done in 2017. That is a fact that we all know.
“In the leader’s speech, he said that there was so much money that was received in 2017 and therefore, there is an estimate of N11 trillion to be gotten. But we know that as at last week, the total receivables that this government is got was one-tenth of what was stated publicly.”
Sen. Abaribe added that, “In what sense will the 2018 budget be predicated on an assumption that the facts have already destroyed? You are assuming 11 trillion, yet, getting one trillion. That is why I said that the 2018 budget is imaginary.
“Rather than debate this that has no basis in reality, we may just continue to beg this government to be very specific in the indication of the assumptions underlined in the budget. The assumptions are totally wrong and off the mark. Therefore, the 2018 budget is already dead on arrival.”
The Senate adjourned debate on the budget to Wednesday.