Speaking to The Guardian yesterday in reaction to President Buhari’s budget proposal presented to the National Assembly, Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers) said what is worrisome is that borrowing is about N4tr while debt servicing is N3.2 trillion. Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central) however said as an economist, he knows that borrowing is not the issue but rather what the borrowed money is used for. Muhammad Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) said the budget is that of critical survival, under a pandemic.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has expressed concern at the scanty appropriations to projects in the Niger Delta region in the 2021 Appropriation Bill, describing it as lopsided.
PANDEF National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson observed that of the N3.84 trillion capital budgets that the President presented to the National Assembly, nothing substantial was allocated to the region. He noted that the President had said the 2021 budget was expected to accelerate the pace of the nation’s economic recovery, enhance competitiveness and ensure social inclusion, amongst others. But, he wondered how those laudable considerations could be achieved when the Appropriation Bill was lopsided in the usual manner, in terms of project distribution.
PANDEF noted regrettably, drawing from the President’s 2021 Budget speech, that the principal interest of the Federal Government remains the exploitation of the resources of the Niger Delta people and not the development of the region, nor its people.