Senate begins debate on 2021 budget
The Senate on Tuesday began debate on the 2021 Appropriation Bill of N13.08 trillion.
President Muhammadu Buhari presented the proposed 2021 appropriation bill before a joint session of the National Assembly last Thursday.
The senators took turns to make submissions on the budget during the plenary.
In his presentation, the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya Abubakar, said the bill was deemed to have been read the first time by virtue of its being laid before the National Assembly.
He said: “This Bill seeks to authorises the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the total sum of N13, 082, 420, 568, 233 only for the year ending December 31, 2021.
“Today, we are in interesting, difficult, and tumultuous times, not only in our country but throughout the world.
“We have arrived at a watershed, a crossroad in history when we cannot afford to make any grievous mistake that could plunge our nation and our people into turmoil and self-destruction.
“It is a time for sober reflection and statecraft.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, we are all witnesses to the cacophony of voices and opinions of some leading members of our society, our compatriots who out of genuine concerns, frustration, sense of entitlement or sheer political bravado, call for the dismemberment of this nation.
“The constitutional reform process is there in the National Assembly to satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians for restructuring and reshaping our federation to make it an inclusive and all-embracing polity.
“We as Senators of the Federal Republic, should not contemplate the dangerous and destabilising temptations of dismembering our federation.
” We must stand by the honour of our status, our convictions, and our oath of office which is to preserve and protect the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians, as a whole.
“We are obliged to place the social and economic challenges we face today in their proper historical perspectives with a view to determining the best course of action for our people and our nation at this point in history.”
The Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe said there was nothing special about the budget.
“We have a budget based on unrealistic expectations. We are not also so sure what the oil situation is going to be.
“If the budget is based on assumption, I agree but we are not assuming properly. I want to go ahead and say it does not reflect the understanding of the fundamental challenges of today.
“This budget is nothing but old news. Every time the same old news, nothing new,” he said.