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PRP: We cant develop with 76 per cent recurrent budget

Published by The Nation on Wed, 04 Dec 2019

Bolaji Ogundele, AbujaAn opposition political party, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), has rejected the 76% Recurrent Expenditure in the proposed 2020 Budget, saying no nation develops that way.Disclosing this at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, members of the partys National Executive Committee, led by its National Chairman, Mallam Falalu Bello, however, called for a drastic reduction in the cost of governance in the country, noting that abolishing one of the chambers of the federal legislature will be desirable.It charged the federal government to immediately curtail Nigerias increasing debt profile, noting that the nations debt burden had increased uncontrolled from about $10 billion in 2015, to above $84 billion currently, noting that the money borrowed had not reflected on the nations development.The party also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to summon the courage to implement the Oronsanye Report on reducing cost of governance, advising that number of ministries be reduced, while some of the MDAs are merged, as advised by previous administrations.The PRP went on to condemned the recent increase in consumption tax, also known as the value added tax (VAT) by 50%, saying the move will only succeed in compounding the already harsh economic realities around the common man Nigerian, whose already unpleasant economic state President Buhari had reportedly acknowledged.We in the PRP unequivocally condemn the increase in Consumption Tax, otherwise called Value Added Tax by 50% from 5% to 7.5% at this time when the President of the Nation himself has admitted that the citizenry is facing hardship and when we as a Nation have become the acknowledged world Capital of Poverty. We call on the Legislature, as elective representatives of the people, to rise up to the challenge and reject this ill-advised and ill-timed 50% increase in Consumption Tax as the poor more than the rich will pay for this increase.Furthermore, we condemn the decrease in Capital Expenditure proposed in the Budget by as much as 22.65% from N3.184 trillion in 2019 to 2.46 trillion in 2020 because there is no way the nation will grow with Capital Estimates attracting only 24% of the Budget and Recurrent Estimates gulping as much as 76%. Looking into the Budget closely, one can see that the wage Bill of the Public Sector alone will gulp N3.6 trillion of the total Budget of N10.33trillion. This certainly is unacceptable and must be reversed if the Nation is to grow.Considerably reducing the cost of the Legislature to the economy which is one of highest, if not the highest, in the world, by reducing its budget to no more than half or abolishing the bicameral legislature and making it unicameral as done by sensible and sensitive nations in recent history. Nigeria is a poor Nation and cannot afford a Bicameral Assembly paying itself so handsomely without any checks on its expenditures. We would be with the President, if he initiates a serious downward review of the costs of the National Assembly to the Nation;READ ALSO:We need a real peoples constitutionReducing expenditures at the Executive branch, beginning with the highest level of Government, that is the Presidency. The President should honour some of his Campaign promises which included reducing the Presidential Fleet, cutting the Budget of the Presidency as a means of giving him the moral courage and strength to reduce the unnecessary and over bloated wage bill and cost of governance in NigeriaWhen it came into office in 2015, the government inherited a debt burden of just Ten Billion Dollars ($10billion). Today our countrys debt exposure has spiraled up to about eighty four billion dollars ($84billion). Yet there is hardly anything on the ground to show for this staggering debt profile. This irresponsible profligacy must stop before our Country and its present and future generations become indentured slaves. Already debt servicing is costing us almost half the Budget with nothing left for development, the party said.The party also lamented the security situation across the country, recalling its National Chairman, had in 2008, and warned of the escalation of criminal activities in the North and the South-South regions of the country.It however assured that Nigerias situation is not entirely irredeemable, saying the PRP as an Opposition Party has alternative blueprints for addressing most of the challenges facing Nigeria and the will and capacity to put them into effect if given the popular mandate to steer the affairs of the nation.
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