2022 N16.39 trillion budget: Senator Opeyemi says figure was increased out of ambition

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Senator Michael Bamidele Opeyemi representing Ekiti Central Senatorial district has hinted that the N16.39 trillion 2022 annual budget was arrived as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ambition to address critical infrastructure in the next one and final year of his tenure.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Abuja, Opeyemi noted that the increase of the budget above that of 2021 in trillions was to also respond to shocks brought about by the global pandemic that has left human devastation on all fronts of the economy.

According to him, it wasn’t out of place that the government in its final phase would want to leave legacies, hence, the budget reflected that it’s not going to be business as usual which is that the government faces the reality or shy away from it.

He said: “Well, the budget estimate as laid by Mr. President for the fiscal year, 2022, go to show that government is conscious of the fact that, it cannot be business as usual, either you have to face the realities of our situation or you run away from it.

“Secondly, this is the budget that the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will implement fully and it means then that to this administration, it has to do with the budget of legacy and that should be the desire of every right thinking leader.

“In government today, where did we go wrong? What is it that is left undone; where can we expand? If you look at the figures, from N13.8 trillion to N16.39 trillion, It’s because of the ambitious nature of the administration itself, a number of policies and programmes are going on aimed at giving governance a human face, for instance, through humanitarian programmes that are being implemented by this administration.”

The lawmaker said humanitarian programmes remain core to this administration which it has done well to allocate more funds in order to mitigate hardship that citizens are currently passing through due to COVID-19.

“There’s need to expand this, I know, it’s worth the expenditure framework. Humanitarian sector alone, it’s getting additional N370 billion so that for the next three years, we are able to expand our social security programmes in this country.

“These are the things you cannot run away from. Ours is an economy that has just emerged from recession which also follows global warfare in the name of COVID-19. Every country is thinking of how best they can accommodate such shocks in it’s economy and to see how they can prepare for the future.

“We are going virtual. Virtually every Ministries, Agencies and Departments have to go virtual within the realm of e-governance. There have to enhance their use of technology and of course, these are expansions that will cost money.

He further argued that the cost of materials used in development infrastructure was high, which at that, government cannot excused itself from putting infrastructure in place.

“Again if you look at the behavior of naira itself against US dollar, you discover that a project that was awarded one or two year ago that is ongoing, today, it will cost more money to even complete and that cannot be an excuse for the project to become an abandoned project.

“As much as possible, all the infrastructural development that is going on like rail transport, how much is being budgeted for it and many more that the Federal government want to implement. With this, we have no option than to come up with the figure as it is today.”

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