The Senate has expressed its reservation that the 2016 appropriation bill does not really reflect the intention of the Federal Government to diversify the economy.
At the plenary session on Wednesday where the budget was debated, a lot of Senators raised observations on the allocations to the agricultural and mineral resources sectors, which of course are supposed to form the fulcrum of economic diversification.
“The message of economic diversification was not particularly reflected. Those are the areas that we should look into,” the President of the Senate has said.
However, for the first time in the history of the country, 77% of the expected revenue is non-oil based. This represents a great foundation for the future.”
On Borrowing, the senate concluded that that it is not the amount that the government borrows that matters, but the projects that the money is used for. “Right now – as a percentage of GDP – we are still within the limits and parameters of fiscal responsibility, according to Saraki.
"Based on our experiences in the past, we have talked about not playing the blame game. However, the issue of blocking all loopholes and leakages is key. Hence, we must pay attention to the present, to address the potential for leakages in the future.”
On the Role of the Legislature:
"The Executive has played its role; it is time that we as the legislature do our part.”
On Revenue Benchmarks:
"The issue of revenue estimates must be gotten right particularly by the Finance and Petroleum Committees. The committees must particularly scrutinize this budget so that at the end of the day we can all be proud of it.”
On Zero-Based Budgeting:
"The Zero Budgeting means that projects will be critically assessed to go across all zones."
On Legislative Malpractice in the Budgeting Process:
"Let me make this categorically clear: there will be no room for money-for-budget in the 2016 appropriations process as sanctions will be taken. We will ensure to report all inconsistencies to the relevant agencies of the executive branch."