The Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Tuesday, rose from its monthly meeting with knocks for the 2016 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the budget is marred by excessive borrowing.
The group, which met at the residence of its national leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, Ondo State capital, also picked holes with some of the policies introduced by the Federal Government in its attempt to revive the economy.
Reading the communique of the group after the meeting, the publicity secretary, Yinka Odumakin, stated that Afenifere noted the collapse in virtually all the sectors of the economy, adding that the decisions and recommendations of the 2014 national conference remained the only panacea for the nation’s woes.
The Afenifere spokesman further observed that all the measures employed by the Federal Government to solve the nation’s problem by diversifying the economy would not yield positive results without first embarking on the complete restructuring of the country.
“All these measures, to us, showed that the Federal Government wants to run away from ways of solving the problems, which is to diversify the economy. Diversifying the economy is not possible without restructuring the country and we are saying and insisting on that, to get out of this economy crisis.
“We have noticed the increase in kerosene price, which can only increase the hardship of poor people of Nigeria. We noticed the imposition of N50 stamp duty on every bank deposit, which we considered an anomaly. A Central Bank should be encouraging bank culture in the country, but it is now trying to discourage banking culture, because many people will not want to take their money to bank again.
“Having gone through the whole budget as presented, we have seen many headies in it which suggest that either we are not aware of the situation or as a country, we are doing more of what brought us to where we are. There are scandalous expenditure in the budget which cannot be justified”, he said.
The group advised the Federal Government to revisit the recommendations of the 2014 national conference, saying this would take the country out of the present economic quagmire it has found itself.
“The Federal Government should immediately consider the restructuring of this country along the recommendation of 2014 national conference.
“The last government organised the conference and said they are going to implement the report, since government is a continuum, the present government should immediately implement it, so that we can create the new corridor of prosperity that will take Nigeria out of the current crisis we are facing”, the group noted.
Still addressing the 2016 budget, the group said “we were embarrassed and scandalised by the processes that characterised the presentation of 2016 budget, which is unprecedented in the history of our country. That a budget will be presented, declared missing without knowing how another one resurface is worrisome.
“If there were mistakes in the ealier budget presented, government should have come out clean and said sorry, we make mistakes and we want to correct the errors. We asked the Federal Government that this should not happen again in our country, it is embarrassing and scandalous”.
Afenifere, however, threw its weight behind the anti-corruption crusade of President Buhari, but said the crusade should be holistic and not sectionalised.
It also congratulated the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and commended him over his steps to foster unity among Yoruba rulers, while members commiserated with the people of Ibadan on the passing of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana.