Nigerians are raising alarm over the mind-boggling budget of the National Assembly as contained in the 2017 budget.
According to 2016 budget, N115 billion was spent on the 360-member House of Reps and 109 senators (totalling 469 Lawmakers) and the legislative institution civil servants.
The National Assembly has never made their budget breakdown open and transparent to the public since 1999.
Worse yet, Nigerians have never been opportuned to know what the N115 billion was spent on.
Consequently, progressive Nigerians conscious of the national economic crisis expected that the National Assembly budget to be slashed from the whooping N120 billion allocated.
Alas! The National assembly ironically rejected the demand that their salaries be slashed but rather increased it!
Interestingly, the Federal Government is seeking for loan locally or internationally to fund 2017 budget deficit.
President Muhammadu Buhari had announced, during the presentation of the 2017 budget, that the country will borrow as much as 46 per cent to finance the budget.
Buhari disclosed that the 46% deficit will be borrowed from external sources, meanwhile, N1.254 trillion will be borrowed from the domestic market
He said that the deficit of N2.36 trillion for 2017, which is about 2.18 per cent of GDP, will be financed mainly by borrowing.
According to him, government’s intention is to source N1.067 trillion or about 46% of the borrowing from external sources while N1.254 trillion will be borrowed from the domestic market.
Consequentially, it means that Nigeria will borrow and waste the loans on over-bloated recurrent cost of sustaining and maintaining the lavish and frivolous lifestyles of political class.
President Buhari, meanwhile, has implored Nigerian masses to endure austerity measures and hardship as 2017 predictably will be economically tough.
In another bizarre turn of events, the federal government announced that it will use over N250 billion of recovered looted funds to finance the 2017 Budget.
However, the said “recovered loots” does not yet exist anywhere as they are still to be recovered.
The National Budget Office [NBO], on Monday, said the said monies were to be recovered from corrupt government officials.
NBO Director General of the office, Mr Ben Akabueze, said that only N72 billion of the money had already been recovered.
“We are projecting N258.6 billion looted funds to be part of the revenue to finance 2017 budget.
“Also to be included in budget financing is 320 million dollars, which is N97.6 billion recovered Abacha loots expected from the Swiss government.
“The balance of N90 billion will be from other expected recovery loots which are now at advanced stages,’’ he said.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government earlier said it will fund the 2017 budget with recovered loot and renewed oil licences, even as it targets N10 trillion revenue generation in the coming year.
It emphasised that the 2017 budget would also be financed through royalties and promissory notes.
As an analyst aptly captured it, “as the government is recovering the loots from the looters, they only hand them over to less than 500 people in the National Assembly to cater for their lifestyles while Majority of Nigerians remain in poverty!”
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