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House of Reps begins debate on 2020 budget

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The House of Representatives has started the debate on the bill on appropriations for 2020 recently presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The debate was almost paralyzed by Kingsley Chinda, who raised a point where the budget was not torn up enough to be taken into consideration since the president did not provide the budget details.

However, it was declared out of service by the president, Femi Gbajabiamila, who said that only the general principle is considered in second reading, therefore it does not need details.

Quoting Section 81 of the constitution, he said, “The President shall cause to be prepared and laid before each House of the National Assembly at any time in each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Federation for the next following financial year.”

Afterwards, members took turn to speak on the budget, using the speech of the president to discus the general principle of the bill.

The Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno, in his contribution, commended the allocation to the agriculture sector, as he identified the sector as the main sector to combat unemployment.

Our population is growing at geometric progression, and our ability to put food on the table is growing at arithmetic progression And Agriculture is the most important way of solving unemployment, I am happy that N83billion has been enmarked to agriculture, although we are far away from Maputo declaration on food security. But the fact is that this govt is investing in Agriculture is commendable.”

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Rotimi Agunsoye in his contribution called the National Population Census (NPC) to conduct a new census, to ensure proper planning.

“I will like to talk on population census, if we are planning, we must know the population of the actual Nigerians, the last census was in 2006, and we are 2019, we have been estimating our population, it is important that we know the population, so that we can know our needs.

“We need census for us to plan. The implementation is important. How do we control our population. The issue is our borders, our borders are porous.”

Most other speakers spoke in favour of the budget, while some persons raised concerns on the deficit which is more than the capital expenditure.

The debate has been suspended till Thursday.

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