2024 budget: Senators decry poor funding for power, education

Just 3 days after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly, it passed the Second Reading in the Senate on Friday. However, there was disaffection among lawmakers due to the absence of the document, which hindered their insight into budgetary provisions for various government sectors.

Several senators expressed reservations about the budget, particularly in relation to the provisions for the power and education sectors. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe criticized the inadequate 3% provision for the power sector, emphasizing the crucial role of stable power supply in job creation and economic development.

Former President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also raised concerns about the poor budgetary provisions for the power sector, echoing Senator Abaribe’s position.

Senator Abba Moro highlighted the insufficient provision for education at 7%, falling short of the UNESCO benchmark of 26% in the annual budget of nations. He emphasized the need for increased funding for education to address the growing demand for quality education in the country.

Other senators, such as Amos Yohanna and Adams Oshiomhole, disagreed on the foreign exchange rate pegged at N750 to a Dollar, with Yohanna calling for action to address the parallel market rate and Oshiomhole emphasizing the importance of well-thought-out macroeconomic policies.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi urged the Senate to request the Executive arm to return money taken from capital projects in the 2023 Budget, which was reallocated for provision of palliatives in the 2023 Supplementary Budget, back to the intended projects in the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

Senator Ahmad Lawan appealed to the Senate to continue supporting the administration’s efforts to tackle insecurity while emphasizing the need for oversight on fund utilization and target achievements.

It is evident that there are significant concerns among senators regarding the 2024 budget, particularly in relation to funding for the power and education sectors. These issues will likely be subject to further deliberation as the budget process continues.

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