From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, commenced debate on the general principles of the 2022 Appropriation, expressing concern over the country’s debt profile.
The lawmakers said it is worrisome that the sum of N3.9 trillion is allocated for debt servicing in the N16 .3 trillion budget proposal for 2022.
Onofiok Luke, while contributing to the debate, said efforts must be made to reduce the deficit in the budget, as well as government borrowing. He noted that allocating the sum N3.9 trillion, which is about 25 per cent of the budget, for debt was worrisome.
According to him, “another source of concern is that the proposal before us has a deficit of N6.2 trillion and government is proposing new borrowings to finance this deficit. What this implies is that then total public debt of Nigeria is expected to rise to N5 trillion in 2022 fiscal year. This is worrisome not only for today but generations unborn and the future of Nigeria.
“Let us do what we can to try to reduce the deficit and how we can reduce borrowing. Now to the next point on the issue so borrowing. There is nothing wrong with borrowing provided we borrow and put it for production not for consumption. So as we begin to look at it let us take the future generations of Nigeria into consideration while we get to borrow and make sure the borrowing are being put into productive ventures.
“While we put the money borrowed to infrastructure three clear things come to mind. We have looked at security. We need to invest in power. Let us borrow to invest in power and roads. We have road challenges across the country.”
On his part, the Chairman House Committee on works on Kabir Abubakar, said it imperative for House Standing Committees to probe how money allocated to various intervention programmes are utilized.
Abubakar also called for an upward review of the allocation for road projects in the 2022 budget. He noted that the Ministry of Works currently have N640 billion outstanding certificate, against the N280 billion proposed for roads in the 2022 budget estimates.
The lawmaker added that what is needed for the road sector is bout N500 billion.
In his contribution, Sergius Ogun, decried poor implementation of budgets in the country and called for quarterly review of the budget performance.
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