Many senators on Wednesday described the 2015 Appropriation Bill of N4.357 trillion as unrealistic given the falling price of crude oil and the country’s reducing revenue receipt. The budget, which passed second reading, was unsatisfactory to many of the senators who spoke during the plenary.
Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, expressed grave concern for the budget. He called it a deficit budget based on the figures contained in the budget in relation to the grim revenue realities. Victor Lar, (PDP, Plateau State) said it had become a necessity for ‘all top government officials and political office-holders to cut cost to make the budget implementable.’
Senator Enang,( PDP Akwa Ibom)said it was time agencies of the federal government, like the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Maritime Agency and Communication Commission restrict themselves to spending only 20 per cent, and saving 80 per cent, of their revenues into federal coffers. Enag mockingly said he celebrate the precarious financial situation, asking “How do countries that do not produce oil survive? It is through money they generate internally. Where is the excess crude account?”
Deputy Senate President, who capped the debate, expressed delight over senators’ presentations. He said all revenue means of the government must be captured in the budget to make it implementable.
“The Federal Government should also put up its listening cap to develop new areas of revenue generation that would help us to drive our economy. We have gone through this way before but eventually the oil price improved but unfortunately we did not learn any lesson, ” Ekweremadu said. He advocated fiscal discipline and observance of fiscal federalism to enable state manage themselves better. The senate resolved that the budget be referred to its Appropriation and Finance Committees for further works.