The federal government has slashed the 2020 budgetary allocations for basic health care from N44.4 billion to N25.5 billion, and the Universal Basic Education (UBE), from N111.7 billion to N51.1 billion.
It gave the National Assembly N27.7 billion for the renovation of its complex, after reducing the budget by N9.3 billion.
The renovation of the complex, initially meant to cost N37 billion, which is to be executed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, attracted criticisms from Nigerians last year.
However, following the drop in the price of crude oil and a fall in the projected revenue, the federal government decided to reduce the national budget.
President Muhammadu Buhari, last Thursday, presented the 2020 Appropriation Act (amendment) Bill to the national assembly, which both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed for second reading the same day.
Buhari explained that the amendment became necessary, in view of the sharp decline in crude oil prices and the cut in Nigeria’s crude oil production quota occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has condemned the reductions in the budget for health and education.
The party described it as the height of insensitivity to the plights of Nigerians.
The party charged Buhari to immediately recall the budget, and rework the figures to reflect a 100 percent increase in the initial figures, as a step towards meeting the needs of the citizens in the affected sectors.
The PDP insists that in slashing the budget for the primary health need of the people to N25.5 billion, a 42 percent cut, and UBE budget to N51.1 billion, representing a 54 percent cut, in a country of over 200 million people, who are already economically overburden, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its administration have further shown that they have never had the welfare of Nigerians at heart.
The party said no government, which genuinely means well for its citizens, will vote a paltry N25.5 billion for basic health care for 200 million people in 774 Local Governments, particularly “at this time our nation is facing huge health challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, while allocating a bigger sum of N27.7 billion for renovation of the National Assembly complex, which is not even in a distress state.”