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House Of Reps Passes 2020 Budget For Second Reading

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The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the 2020 appropriation bill of N10.33 trillion for second reading.

The bill scaled second reading during plenary session, two days after President Muhammadu Buhari presented it to a joint session of the national assembly.

Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, majority leader of the house, first moved for the resumption of the debate on the budget, after which he lauded the budget while others expressed doubts over the realisation of its projections.

Yusuf Gadgi from Plateau state said it was a matter of serious concern that debt servicing “still takes a huge chunk of the budget.”

“The poor allocation to relevant MDAs reflect why they also perform poorly compared to their counterparts from other African countries”, he said.

Toby Okechukwu from Enugu state said although the budget was brought early, the various allocations may not impact positively on the nation.

He also decried the reduction of capital expenditures by 23 percent from the last budget while Nigerians will be taxed more.

.“There is no country that can make progress with this. Health budget is N48 billion. How can we make progress? This time, we are putting the cart before the horse,” he said.

“Nigerians are burdened with so much tax, I believe the budget will not work. I believe the money bill should have been brought before this.”

Kolawole Taiwo from Lagos state proposed the development of non-oil sectors such as mineral exploration, extraction and development “to boost the nation’s revenue generation base.”

Yusuf Sununu from Kebbi state said there was the need to ensure the implementation of the 15 percent budgetary allocation to healthcare.

He also lamented the inadequate funding for revenue-generating sectors such as agriculture, and said there was the need to inject more funds in those areas.

Yusuf Yakub from Adamawa urged the federal government to “start thinking outside the box” regarding the budget implementation.

He said the annual budget cycle cannot take care of the needs of Nigerians particularly infrastructural challenges.

The lawmakers unanimously voted for the budget to be passed for second reading after which Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker, referred it to the standing committees on appropriation.

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