By Sheila Offiong
Mr Ben Akabueze, the Director General Budget Office, says the 2020 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari tagged the “Budget of Growth and Job Creation” clearly defines its objectives.
Akabueze made this known on the sidelines of the 2020 budget estimate presentation by Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja.
“The budget presented by Mr President is titled the Budget of Growth and Job Creation; so, at least that clearly defines what the objectives are.
“The budget is intended to drive growth; it is intended to expand the economy’s capacity to create jobs.
“As you are aware, the president has committed to a goal of uplifting a hundred million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.
“And the best way to take people out of poverty is to put them into jobs to be able to earn income.”
The DG said that creating palliatives, such as Social Investment Programmes, can only serve as interim measure pending when people get jobs.
Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, commended the President for the timely presentation of the budget.
Akpabio said this would enable the country to achieve the January to December budget cycle.
“The reason the budget is coming (now) is to enable us go back to the budget cycle of January to December which will help us plan and have a better plan for the future of Nigeria.
“This is highly commendable because of the cooperation between the executive and the parliament today; we are quite excited about it.
“Nigerians should expect better dividends of democracy; the president has promised that this second term he wants to take them to Next Level.”
Akpabio said availability of funds, commitment and dedication of everyone involved was the surest way for Nigerians to get to the next level.
Sen. Ali Ndume, however, decried the performance level of 2019 budget, tagging it ‘circumstantially poor’.
According to Ndume, the poor performance of 2019 budget is no fault of the executive, but a result of the late passage of the 2019 budget.
“The budget was passed in June and you see it cannot be implemented, but despite that, the president’s commitment is commendable as he has now ordered that N600 billion be released by the end of the month in compliance with the execution of the 2019 budget.
“I think that will make a lot of difference in critical areas.”
Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa said a lot of work had been done underground on the budget and the document presented was a result of what had been agreed upon.
He said speed, dedication and precision would be employed in the deliberations on the budget to ensure its passage by the legislature, not later than November.
Bulkachuwa said this would enable the President to accent to it before the end of December, to ensure its implementation from January 2020.