Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader on Wednesday, October 9, described the 2020 budget as unsustainable.
The Senate Minority Leader in his contribution on the budget on Wednesday picked holes in the assumptions of the budget, such as Value Added Tax (VAT) and the allocation to debt servicing.
“This is a budget that is based on taxation. It is based on a 7.5 per cent increase in VAT, based on several other increases.
“Following the lead of the Senate Leader who mentioned 15 loans, I want to mention that the biggest loan we have is the fact that how would you talk about job creation when you do not invest in what will create jobs.
“Debt servicing as a component is higher than capital expenditure; N2trillion for capital expenditure, N2.4trillion for debt servicing.
“The projected growth that they put in the budget was 1.9 per cent less than the population growth of 2.6 per cent.
“So, if we look at it globally, we are still struggling. We may have to take over and direct the economic policy of this government since they have not done anything and they have failed.”
Adding, “I know that our people were happy when there seem to be a little problem in the middle east with Iran which will lead to a spike in the oil price but that seems to have gone down which means that our projection for the cost of oil may also be off the mark.”
He also commented on the projection for the production levels daily pegged at 2.18 million barrel per day.
Abaribe said: “Last year, the average production level was 1.8m BPD. Why don’t we just keep it there? Why must we go up to 2.1 only to be disappointed at the end of the day?”
Despite periodic jeers from senators, Abaribe appealed to his colleagues to look at the facts.
“I plead with my colleagues to look at the facts. You can’t run away from facts.
“The facts say this is not a sustainable budget. The fact says that if we need to change, we must be able to look at the critical fundamentals of this budget speech and make adjustments as due.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan in his response to Abaribe described his presentation as “laced with inaccurate statistical information” adding “but all the same, you are entitled to your opinion.”