Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’ presented by President Bola Tinubu before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, saying the N27.5trn budget estimates was designed to strangulate poor Nigerians.
The party, in a statement by its spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, alleged that the proposed budget by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration was padded figures and duplicated items, urging the National Assembly to scrutinise the proposed budget.
At his maiden budget presentation before the National Assembly on Wednesday, the President said the proposed budget will ensure micro-economic stability, poverty reduction, greater access to social security, amongst others.
He highlighted priority areas such as security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security.
Giving a breakdown of the budget estimates, the President fixed recurrent non-debit expenditure at N9.92trn, capital expenditure at N8.73trn, debt service at N8.25trn, revenue at N18.32trn, new borrowings at N7.83trn and deficit at N9.18trn.
However, in a reaction hours after the budget proposal, the PDP described the budget estimates as a “huge disservice which, if allowed to pass, will further asphyxiate Nigerians and plunge our nation into more economic depression and hopelessness”.
“The PDP also describes the claim by President Tinubu that the budget is a Budget of Renewed Hope as conjured, unfounded and deceptive as the budget is completely devoid of concrete mechanisms to revive the economy, create jobs, address the comatose manufacturing and productive sectors, human capital development deficiencies and depleting life expectancy of Nigeria citizens,” the statement partly read.
“The 2024 budget is filled with heavily padded figures, duplicated items and several false statistics including claims of global increase in inflation rate as excuse for an impending excruciating increase in taxes and interest rate to the detriment of our productive sector.
“It is clear that the 2024 budget as proposed with its heavy provisions for luxury appetite of the Presidency and All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders which is predicated and expected to be funded from multilateral and bilateral foreign loans and increased taxes on Nigerians, is designed to further mortgage our nation and strangulate the already impoverished Nigerians.
“The budget framework with respect to Recurrent Expenditure Vote of N9.9 trillion, Capital Expenditure Vote of N8.7 trillion and N8.25 trillion for debt services is unsustainable and unrealizable in view of the stated outstanding debt and proposed borrowing which is targeted mainly to finance consumption, luxury appetite and debt servicing.
“The lack of concrete and verifiable action plans to revive the manufacturing, energy, agricultural and education sectors which are the main drivers of any economy is a pointer that the Tinubu-led APC government is bereft of ideas and completely disconnected from the reality of life being faced by Nigerians.”
The opposition party said by adopting N750 per US Dollar exchange rate, Tinubu has plunged the economy into the abyss, weakened the productive sector, and wrecked the purchasing power of Nigerians.