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2016 National Budget: Senator Ashafa calls for a united senate

Senator Gbenga Ashafa of the Lagos East Senatorial Zone has called
on his distinguished colleagues to unite and corporate together to
ensure a successful deliberation on the 2016 National Budget.

While contributing to the debate on the 2016 Appropriation Bill on
the floor of the Senate, the
senator said that he expected that the
coming of the Central Bank Governor yesterday would reflect a sober
debate today, Wednesday, 20th January 2016. He highlighted two areas in
the Appropriation Bill which were of keen interest to himself and all
Nigerians to be the N5000 conditional cash transfer to poor Nigerian
families and the plan by the Federal Government to recruit 500, 000
teachers.

On the issue of the Special Intervention, the Senator commended the
plan, but questioned how the Federal Government intended to implement
the program. He asked that more light be shed on how the Federal
Government intends to pay the conditional cash transfer of N5, 000 to
millions of Nigerians when the amount allocated in the budget was about
Five Hundred Billion Naira. By his calculation, the project alone would
cost the Government at least Seven Hundred Billion Naira.

Going further on the issue of the teachers to be employed, the
senator also said that the Federal Government needs to carry the
National Assembly along on how the project is going to be funded. In his
words, “How are we going to get these funds? Are we expecting the
states who are already overburdened by the wages they have to pay to
take on more?”

Senator Ashafa noted that the commonwealth of this country had been
looted by past administrations, but that however the APC is ready to
tighten its belt and that the PDP Senators need to partner with the APC
in resuscitating a country on the precipice of collapse as the Senate
fine-tunes the estimates.

Reaching across party lines in canvassing support for the
Appropriation Bill, Senator Ashafa stated, “None of us was sworn in as
Senators of our political parties. We were sworn in as Senators of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria, consequently we need to put our party
affiliations aside to ensure that the spirit and intents of the budget
is achieved.”

He stated further that “On this side of the aisle, we have agreed to
help the president to ensure that the spirit and the intent of this
budget of change comes to life. To achieve this, we invite our fellow
senators on the other side (the PDP) to partner with us to ensure the
speedy passage of this budget.”

The Senator continued by saying that certain critical sectors require
more funding that what is contained in the Appropriation Bill
particularly the rail sector, which he said was greatly underfunded
despite its importance to the Nigerian economy.

He concluded further garnering support for the speedy passage of the
2016 Appropriation Bill, in order to quickly commence the special
intervention schemes be given to the most indigent & other laudable
capital projects contained therein.

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