Members of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives at the weekend cautioned that the House should not rubberstamp the N10.33 trillion 2020 budget.
They warned their colleagues in the Green Chamber to ensure that the annual estimate should be subjected to thorough legislative scrutiny to reflect the general aspiration of Nigerians.
In a statement he personally signed yesterday, Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu maintained that though the House had resolved to pass the budget before the end of the year, its details, particularly the capital expenditure items and implementation modules, must meet the yearnings of Nigerians before the budget is passed into law.
Elumelu noted that the opposition “recognises the fact that Nigerians look up to them to protect their interest on critical issues that directly affects their lives, particularly on budget planning and implementation in key sectors”.
The details of the N2.46 trillion capital budget, according to the opposition, must be dissected and adjusted accordingly, to ensure that critical needs of Nigerians are adequately accommodated, as well as to forestall wastes and eliminate budgetary corruption at every stage.
Elumelu said: “Given the sorry state of our infrastructure, the opposition must ensure that the votes earmarked by Mr. President for the rehabilitation of roads, power infrastructure, health services, agriculture, water resources, education, among other critical sectors, are thoroughly scrutinised to guarantee full implementation as well as reflect the federal character principle across board.”
The minority leader frowned at reports that certain committees barred the media from covering their budget defence sessions.
He insisted that budget defence must be in the open and exhibit transparency so that Nigerians are fully carried along in all the processes leading to budgetary decisions in all critical sectors.
Elumelu directed opposition members in various committees to ensure strict compliance with the democratic principles of transparency, accountability and prudence in the budget planning as well as in the implementation oversight of the capital and recurrent components.
The opposition leader said the PDP was poised to fully monitor the implementation of special intervention funds for the unemployed as well as the welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast and other parts of the country to ensure that the money is not diverted.
He assured the nation that the opposition would take critical look at all revenue projections – from Value Added Tax (VAT) and other tax regimes – to ensure equity and fairness as well as to guarantee that the masses are not overburdened in the course of time.