The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday attacked the N6.8 trillion 2016 federal budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly earlier in the day as a “big fraud and executive conspiracy tailored towards mortgaging the future” of Nigeria.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party queried President Buhari’s decision to borrow N2 trillion, the biggest in the history of the nation, describing it as “the height of recklessness and deceit from a government that trends on propaganda.”
For her part, in a statement distributed to reporters, Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra-North Senatorial District), described the budget as “very robust and seemingly thorough and well-thought out,” and expressed the hope it would address many of the economic and security situations that Nigerians currently face.
She expressed particular joy in the fact that the budget addresses issues of concern to rural communities, adding that she hoped that 2016 would set a new path for the country, as the President seemed to touch on areas that included the boosting of oil and non-oil revenues; the more efficient collection and enforcement of VAT and customs duties; and the subsidized funding of the agricultural and solid mineral sectors.
Her party however berated the government for trying to use its “bogus welfare programme and phantom capital projects” as a cover and conduit to syphon the funds to 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,” its statement said.
“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.”
PDP said it had 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.
It expressed the view that after seven months in power, the budget clearly shows that President Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) are yet to differentiate between governance and campaign propaganda.
“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.”
It expressed shock 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,” the statement continued.
“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?”
The PDP stated that in the 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.”
It called on President Buhari 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,” it said. “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.”
In her statement, Senator Oduah Oduah drew particular attention to the employment situation in the country, urging President Buhari to take significant steps to address the problem.
She said that the swift passage of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper showed that the 8th National Assembly has the zeal and commitment to move speedily to pass the 2016 Appropriation Bill.