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2023 budget proposal is submission of organised corruption by civil servants – APC rep

Bello Maigari, a member of the house of representatives, has described the 2023 budget proposal as “organised corruption” by civil servants....

Bello Maigari, a member of the house of representatives, has described the 2023 budget proposal as “organised corruption” by civil servants.

 

Maigari, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), spoke on the floor of the house of representatives during the budget debate by lawmakers on Wednesday.

 

On October 7, President Muhammadu Buhari presented a record N20.51 trillion appropriation bill to a joint session of the national assembly.

 

A breakdown of the budget shows that N744 billion is earmarked for statutory transfers, N6.557 trillion for debt service, N8.271 trillion for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while the sum of N4.934 trillion is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure.

 

Speaking on Wednesday, the lawmaker representing Jalingo/Yorro/Zing federal constituency of Taraba state, alleged that the budget is a submission of “organised corruption”.

 

“This our budget, I will say, is a submission of organised corruption by the civil servants,” he said.

 

“Mr Speaker, you just mentioned that it is only this government (Buhari’s administration) that implements 100 percent capital projects, but 50 percent of the amount in this capital project goes to the pocket of civil servants.”

 

He accused the ministry of works of deliberately proposing funds incapable of executing and completing projects.

 

“Mr Speaker, the issue of splitting budget — they can propose a project of N3 billion or N4 billion; you allocate only N50 million for that project. For God’s sake, how can we do that project? A project is supposed to be N6 billion and they make a proposal of N150 million. And the N150 million will be released 100 percent to them. They cannot go to the site because the money will not be enough for the contractor to go to the site,” he added.

 

The legislator asked his colleagues to scrutinise the appropriation bill when the heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) come to defend their proposals.

 

“I think we have to look at this budget very critically. It is very important that at the committee work, they should look at these projects. We have to look at this very seriously,” he said.

 

Lawmakers, who also spoke on the budget estimate, criticised the proposed figure for debt servicing and petrol subsidy.

 

Toby Okechukwu, deputy minority leader, said subsidising petrol is against the law.

 

“We need to take some steps back and let me remind you — the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that was done by this parliament presupposes that subsidy should have been withdrawn; subsidising petroleum products is a breach of that law,” he said.

 

“I will suggest and advise this parliament to be courageous and do its job. Suddenly, we are reducing the subsidy to six months — because it’s been an election issue. The government had no courage to undertake that enterprise. The subsidy is coming off from the second half of next year. It has been political. It is not driven by patriotism.

 

 “I think this house should be courageous to face the reality and ensure that we retool the budget so that it can be effective for Nigerians.”

 

Tahir Monguno, chief whip, said the federal government needs to improve its revenue generation to reduce borrowing.

 

 “The observation I want to make is with regards to revenue generation. There is a need for government to bring more Nigerians into the tax net so that there will be more tax for the purpose of implementing our budget,” he said.

 

“We have had a situation where we had some challenges in terms of revenue to implement the budget. We are going to do that by way of focusing more searchlights on revenue generating agencies so that whatever revenue they generate, it will be brought to government coffers.”

 

Onofiok Luke from Akwa Ibom, said it is a “time bomb” for the president to allow subsidy to subsist till mid-June 2023.

 

“Mr President, right from when he was a candidate of his party, running for election in 2014 to 2015 called subsidy a fraud and then gave a commitment that when he come into office, that he will remove subsidy,” Luke said.

 

“It is time bomb for the president to allow the removal of subsidy till the mid year when a new administration is coming to force.

 

“This is a budget of transition and sustainability. For this budget to answer its name appropriately, Mr President has to do the needful as a strong leader which he is, to be able to address the issue of subsidy.” 

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