The 2014 budget passed second reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday after it went through three days of debate by lawmakers. However, the session was not devoid of drama, as the Peoples Democratic Party members and the Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, exchanged words several times.
The All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Lagos State came under a barrage of attacks when he described the Appropriation Bill as a document of “voodoo economics.” Although Gbajabiamila modified his language after the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, intervened, the APC lawmaker went ahead to explain why he called the budget a budget of “voodoo economics.”
- He argued that only a budget of “voodoo economics” would allocate 23 per cent of funds (N1.1tn) to capital projects and vote 15 per cent (N712bn) to debt service.
- Gbajabiamila said, “Mr. Speaker, it is voodoo economics when you have a deficit of N912bn. By this, you are saying that much of your capital is going to be borrowed.
- “You put N21bn in the Service Wide Vote for election monitoring in the Ministry of Finance. What is that?”
- Gbajabiamila added that the government earmarked only 5.6 per cent for the health sector, against the 16 per cent recommended globally.
- He also faulted the “paltry budget of the education sector” for falling way behind the 26 per cent recommended by UNESCO as the minimum for all countries.
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