The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described the N6.8 trillion 2016 budget proposal presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday to a joint session of the National Assembly “as a big fraud and executive conspiracy tailored towards mortgaging the future of the nation”.
In the budget proposal, capital expenditure takes N1.8 trillion (30 per cent), marking a significant increment of over 300 per cent from the 2015 allocation of N557 billion.
According to the estimate, N396billion is earmarked for education, making it the largest sectoral allocation.
The health sector gets N296 billion while defence received an allocation of N294 billion.
In its reaction, the PDP faulted the president’s decision to borrow N2 trillion – the biggest in the history of the nation – to finance the budget, saying it was the height of recklessness and deceit from a government that trends on propaganda.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh on Tuesday, the PDP berated the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government for trying to use their bogus welfare programme and phantom capital projects as cover and conduit to syphon the funds to supposedly satisfy partisan interests, particularly to settle huge campaign debts.
“It is obvious that this budget is an extension of the campaign promises of the APC government, presented as a manifesto filled with bogus promises which implementation will be inconclusive, thereby allowing the APC to once again deny their promises.
“There has never been any known economy in the world where government deliberately mortgage the future of its nation by borrowing excessively to finance partisan interests while hiding under bogus welfare programmes. This is moreso important as the APC in reeling out their bogus campaign promises never informed Nigerians that they would mortgage their future through excessive borrowing.
“We have it on good authority that this is the first in the series of APC borrowings which would leave the future generation of Nigerians under the burden of huge debts after four years”, the opposition party said.
Mr. Metuh maintained that the budget estimates exposed President Buhari and the APC as being unable to differentiate between governance and campaign propaganda, seven months after taking over the country’s mantle of leadership.
“By all standards, the 2016 budget, the first major economic policy outing of this government, is completely unrealistic and duplicitously embellished with impractical predications, a development that confirms fears by economy watchers and investors that this administration is obviously ill-equipped for governance.
“We are indeed shocked that President Buhari and his minister of information have come up with two different reasons for the current fuel crisis in the country. While we appreciate the President’s apology, we think it is high time he called this minister to order as his excessive propaganda and blame game are ridiculing this administration and the image of the nation.
“Furthermore, it is instructive to note the official endorsement of Mr. President to the devaluation of the naira as against his campaign promise of firming up the value of our currency even to the much vaunted one naira to one dollar.
“Does it mean that Mr. President lied his way to power, or that he did not understand the complexities of governance when he was making his false promises to Nigerians?
“In future, there is need to regulate campaign promises so that we will not end up with a government that promises to climb Mount Everest with bare hands and end up mortgaging our future with orchestrated borrowings.
“Finally, we want to request Mr. President to once again to involve experienced and well-tested hands in the management of the economy and budgeting processes. This economy is not for Mr. President, neither is it for the APC. The progress of the economy is for all Nigerians and as such, due care should be taken to save ourselves from unrealistic and deceptive programmes”.