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2016 Budget Unacceptable To Women, Tinubu Tells APC, Buhari

* Orji Claim Inequalities In Budget Allocations
* Useni Wants Security Votes Removed

Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja

Senator Oluremi Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja sent a gender message to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), declaring that the Nigerian women are disappointed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2016 Budget allocations to women.

Similarly, Senator Theodore Orji also claimed that allocations made to infrastructure in the 2016 Budget is marred by inequalities.

This is even as even as Senator Jeremiah Useni has called for the removal of security votes.

Tinubu, who spoke on the third day of the Budget debates on the floor of the Senate, accused the APC of lies and deceits.

“The APC, in its manifesto, mentioned that there is need for an all encompassing empowerment programmes for Nigerian women, such comprehensive empowerment requires fund, which should be included in the Budget for implementation. Going through the Budget for the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, I discovered that the total allocation to the women ministry is so meager, and I think it would be the least allocation received – that is allotted to a ministry,” Tinubu pointed out.

The UNION reports that only about N4 billion is allotted to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs from the total N6.08 trillion Budget expenditure.

“The burden is left for the woman, looking at this Budget of less than N4 billion. And they have capital with almost N3 billion. So, when you look at it, what is left to do anything? I’m just laying this case on behalf of the Nigerian women that this is not going to go well,” she said.

The Chairperson, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, who claimed that women played a vital role to bring Buhari’s change into government, said that women would no longer pretend that Buhari’s government is doing well.

She threatened that this government and subsequent ones would incur the wrath of the Nigerian woman for using them (women) for campaign and empty promises.

“It is as if we (women) have been used during the (Buhari) campaign, and we said this is a government of change that the change mantra is supposed to change things across board. But what they have allotted to the Nigerian woman has not really done so well. It is not encouraging.

“When we talk about change, that doesn’t mean we are going to dodge and support what is not working; but we are just starting, and this is the best way to start, and this is not going down well with us.

“So, the women are not just going to be used for campaign, while several (empty) promises are made to them; if not, they are going to incur the wrath of the Nigerian woman. On behalf of the Nigerian woman, I’m making their case today that this Budget is not telling anything and not making any promises,” she threatened.

She, therefore, urged her colleagues to find a way to amend the Budget at the committee level.

In his contribution, Senator Theodore Orji cautioned on basing the Budget on borrowings and loans.

“The Budget is predicated on the price of crude oil when it was $120 per barrel; but unfortunately, because of circumstances beyond our control, the price of oil fell drastically to $28 per barrel. That brings a constraint to the realisation of the Budget. But that does not mean that the Budget proposal cannot be realised with doggedness and determination. We can realise the Budget.

“A closer look at the Budget of N6.08 trillion shows that greater percentage would be based on borrowing and loans. There is nothing bad about borrowing; but what we are saying, and what I am against is that when we borrow, we have to borrow in tandem with the law that we passed on the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007, and these are contained in parts 9 to 11, section 41 to 50, which places limitations on deficit juxtaposed with GDP. Once we keep to that, we can borrow, and I support that,” Orji cautioned.

Orji urged the Federal Government to ensure that the project of change changes the face of Nigerians by applying equality and fairness in the Budget allocations.

“When you look at the Budget, you will see some inequalities in the allocations made to road infrastructure; and I give particular reasons from my zone: the Enugu/Port Harcourt road is a very bad road, and that is the road that transports petroleum products from the South to the North, and that is the road in which food is transferred from the North to the South, and it has remained unrepaired for a very long time, and these roads cross Enugu State, Ebonyi State, Imo State, Abia State and Rivers State. And it is a very vital road. But only allocated to the repair of that road, which will not be enough to repair the road. Contrary another good road which needs repair, which is Ibadan Expressway is allotted N80 billion.

“So, if we can beef up that so that this project of change can change the face of Enugu road from portholes to advantage trueness, I will be very happy about that. Finally, our people want the Budget fast track to capture that we have to diversify. If we are diversifying, we have to pay attention to the key economy, agriculture and mineral resources. If we fund those ministries, it will help us,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Jeremiah Useni, has called on the government to scrap the security votes.

Useni particularly claimed that removing security votes is subject to the change mantra of Buhari-led APC government.

“We should change our attitude,” he added.

In his debate, Senator Samuel Anyanwu maintained that the Budget must be subjected to serious analysis.

“The APC senators are playing to the gallery because this Budget is for negative change. We must do a forensic analysis and surgery it deserves to make it workable,” Anyanwu maintained.

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