2014 budget: 30,000 militants to get N52 billion, while defence gets N34 billion
Lawmakers under the All Progressives Congress party have raised several objections over the 2014 budget. Senator Ahmed Lawan (APC, Kano) on Tuesday stated that he was puzzled as to why the amnesty programme would receive N52 billion whilst defence was left with N34 billion.
He also posed as to why the Federal Goverment would allocate N100 billion to the Niger Delta, whilst the troubled North East only received N2 billion.
His words: “I want to clarify that I have nothing against the South-South or the Niger Delta. But what I am saying is that the funds proposed for defence are far low compared to the amount earmarked for 30,000 militants and the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta.
“The amnesty programme and the 30,000 militants will have N52bn while defence will have just about N34bn. And what we are saying is that we have a state of emergency in the North-East and that security agents should be well funded.
“Why don’t we fund the security agencies better when you are taking so much money for what is, in my opinion, not more important than the security of our people. I believe that while fighting insurgency, we need to have a special package or special funding or some kind of Marshal Plan for the North- East.
“And for the proposal for N2bn, I say we reject it as North-East Development Initiative by the Federal Government compared to N163bn going to the Niger Delta. Are we serious about tackling the problems in the North-East?”
Lawan called fro increased funding for the North and also called for the resignation of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo iweala for her failure to tackle the huge portion of the budget, 76% for recurrent expenditure, thus leaving a paltry sum of 26% for the capital expenditure.
e said, “74 per cent is what was provided as recurrent expenditure in 2011 when this administration came in. In 2013, it went down to 71, now we have gone back to 74. How many people are going to enjoy the recurrent expenditure?
“What we are saying is that only about 13 per cent is going to the masses of this country. How do you create jobs and alleviate poverty, the people must be at the centre. They should be at the centre of the implementation of the budget.
“We cannot have peace when we spend much of our funds on ourselves. We have to spend the bulk of our funds on the people so that everybody will have something to do and everybody would be safe.”
Senator Abubakar Yaradua (APC, Katsina) said, “The budget does not worth the paper on which it was written because it does not hold anything for the common man. Everything in the budget is for the political class, for the rich and the bureaucrat.”
“Is our economy better today than 15 years ago? Are we more developed today than we were 15 years ago? , he asked, adding, “I want Okonjo -Iweala to resign because she has disappointed us.”