‘Nigerians Are Suffering’ – Saraki tells Buhari


Mr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, yesterday, told President Muhammadu Buhari, openly, during presentation of estimates of the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly, that Nigerians are really suffering.

Saraki - Buhari
L-R: Buhari and Saraki

Saraki, as the National Assembly Chairman, said the purpose of a budget is to ease economic pressure on the people, most especially, the poor in his welcome remarks at the budget presentation session, yesterday.

According to him; “The 2017 budget assumes even a greater significance, particularly in this time of recession.

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“Mr. President, the feedback we get from visits to our various constituencies is that there is hardship in the land. We can see it and we can feel it. This situation, therefore, commands all of us as government to a greater sense of urgency. We cannot work magic, but we must continue to work the clock.

“Our people must see that the singular pre-occupation of government is the search for solution to the current economic hardship; and the commitment to ease their burden. They don’t want to know what political parties we belong, what language we speak or how we worship God. They have trusted their fates into our hands, and they need us now more than ever, to justify the trust that they have reposed on us.”

“The people of Nigeria will pardon us if we do some things wrong. But, they will not forgive us if we do nothing. And, that is why, Mr. President, the two chambers have taken a position whatever may be our differences, or opinions on issues of the economy, we will all work with one common purpose for this reason.”

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Also, Saraki expressed delight that the 2017 budget presentation was coming early this year than that of 2016.

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Moreover, he said the the 2017 appropriation bill has benefited from greater consultation and cooperation from the executive arm of government and the legislature.

The senate president said the National Assembly recognises the fact that the country cannot depend solely on the public sector to get out of the current recession.

“It is, therefore, critical that we mainstream private sector business and investment in the economy. To achieve this, we must make it much easier and efficient for people to invest and do business in our country.

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“Further to this, we are also aware that, if we must attract private investments to play a central role in our economic recovery efforts, we must make deliberate efforts to market Nigeria as an attractive brand through a very robust and highly coordinated process of engagements.

“This effort must necessarily start with injecting confidence in the market through clarity and consistency of policies. We must speak the right language and show that we are open to and ready for legitimate business.

On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who gave the vote of thanks at the budget presentation, said it is unfortunate that the country go through the budget ritual every year,without actually unlocking the full potential of such budgets.

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Dogara noted that “this is because implementation and execution of the agreed budget is always a major challenge year in year out. Sometimes, implementation rate is as low as 30 percent, most times, it is never higher than 50 percent, at the best of times.

“This has led to unacceptably high rate of abandonment of projects and distortions in Nigeria’s economic planning.”

The speaker urged Buhari to add distorted budget cycle, abandoned projects to the list of things he must execute during his tenure as President.

Culled from Dailysun


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