Monday, 19 December 2016

Reps to endorse Buhari’s plan to borrow - Gbajabiamila

The House of Representatives may back-pedal and endorse the plan by President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow N2. 36trillion to fund the 2017 budget deficit.

House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who dropped the hint while briefing reporters at the National Assembly complex yesterday remarked that such money would not be recklessly spent considering the fact that President Buhari is reputed as a prudent leader.

Gbajabiamila, who said that the House would endorse the borrowing plan, noted that there was nothing wrong in having a deficit budget since it remains an essential feature of democracy.

The president had while presenting the budget to the National Assembly expressed the desire to source N1.067 trillion or about 46% of the borrowing from external sources while N1.254 trillion would be borrowed from the domestic market to finance the 2017 budget deficit of N2. 36 trillion.

Blaming the past administration for the economic problems now besetting the country, he maintained that borrowing is required “to pump money into the system, to reflate the economy and ensure its diversification.”

On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the House leader disclosed that deliberation on the bill would commence shortly after the House reconvenes in January 2017.

He added that the House is already working with stakeholders to ensure that the legislation serves the interest of Nigerians.

The House Leader said there was nothing like padding of the budget. He also maintained that there was nothing wrong with tinkering with the budget proposal by the executive since it is trite knowledge that the power of appropriation is universally recognised as the exclusive preserve of the legislature.

Gbajabiamila, who assured that the controversial amendment to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act would not be assented to by President Buhari argued that there was nothing wrong with “padding” if it is all about legislators injecting developmental projects required by their constituents in the budget.

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