Senate frustrating FG borrowing plans to fund 2018 budget – Presidency

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There are indications that the current political impasse arising from the face off between leadership of the Senate and the Executive arm of government is taking serious toll on the implementation of the 2018 budget implementation following government’s inability to go ahead with the borrowing plans to fund the budget

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters ( Senate), Ita Enang and the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, stated this while briefing State House Correspondents, after meeting Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Monday.

Ahmed Lawan lamented that the Senate recess has made it impossible for the Upper Legislative Chamber to consider requests for the external loans by President Muhammadu Buhari to fund the budget

This is just as the Presidency on Monday formally confirmed the defection of the Senate Minority leader and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, GodsWill Akpabio to the All Progressive Congress, ( APC)

Recall that Federal government had earlier stated that the deficit component of the 2018 budget, amounting to about N1.95 trillion (about 1.74 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), would be financed mainly by N1.6 trillion projected to come from borrowing.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, had at the presentation of the details of the 2018 budget stated that while about N793 billion of the deficit would be sourced locally, the remaining N849 billion would come from foreign sources.

But the Senate leader, Lawan, lamented that government is grinding to a halt as a result of the face off.

Ahmed who was speaking on the recent adjournment of the Senate to the 25th of September declared that “ Our government is almost stalled”

He noted that the non- Passage of the Virement and Supplementary appropriation sent to the Senate by the President was frustrating the activities of the government

“ We are pleading that the Senate should be reconvened as this will enable the administration carry out its promises to Nigerians by executing the budget as promised” he said

He also lamented the inability of the Senate to consider and approve funding request for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, saying that it will hinder efforts of the agency to effectively plan for the 2019 general election.

“ Some procurement require three to four months and INEC will need to place order that will last up to three or four months”

“Whatever our differences are, we must make sure that Nigerians are not allowed to suffer. We have our budget suffering because we are not able to pass these requests”

Lawan denied knowledge of previous plans to break into the Senate Chambers by some Senators, saying that “There are processes for gaining into the Chambers”

He however hoped that Presiding officers of the Senate will see reasons to have a change of mind and reconvene as soon as possible , adding that “ I hope they will see reason to reconvene as and l do not want to contemplate, that they will not listen to us”
“We should be able to convene in the next few days” he said
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters ( Senate) Ita Enang , also appealed to the lawmakers to reconvene to ensure a smooth execution of government policies

“ We should plan properly for free fair election in 2019”

Enang who stated that the loan has not been approved , also expressed the hope that National Assembly would approve the loan

“The capital component is not enough to sustain the budget”

Enang also used the opportunity to confirm the planned defection of firmer Akwa Ibom state Governor, Godswill Akpabio

Accord to him, “APC has harvested more people from the PDP and in the next few days the head of the PDP in the Senate is coming to join the us in the APC”

Source: BUSINESSDAY

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