The National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity has blasted the National Assembly for approving the 2023 national budget presented to it by the Federal Government, which it described as anti-people.
A statement by the NAS Capoon, Mr. Abiola Owoaje entitled, ‘Troubling Trends in the 2023 Budget’ stated that the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, should be on the side of the people and was reckless for approving a budget that had over N10.78tn in deficit.
It also warned that the huge budget deficit could further plunge Nigeria into acute borrowing that would further create economic distortions for the already fragile economy.
Owoaje, therefore, called for a review of the budget to reflect the current realities of the people.
He said rather than the National Assembly playing “its part as an institution that should be on the side of the people, play oversight functions to checkmate the executive, it has joined in the binge spending and reckless financial jamboree of the executive branch.
“It has therefore urged the Federal Government to cut wastage, especially those allocated to fund the extravagance of political office holders and intensify the war against oil theft to get more revenue to fund the budget.
“In addition to this, the Senate should shake off its self-serving posture and work for Nigerians by ensuring all revenue generating Ministries, Departments and Agencies remit what is due to government coffers. We urge the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan to walk the talk over the threat to turn the heat on revenue-generating agencies for adequate revenue to fund the implementation of the 2023 budget.
“As a sign of seriousness, we expect the lawmakers to revisit its report released in May 2021 which indicted over 60 MDAs for failing to remit revenue meant for the government. The various officials behind this defiance should be fished out and sanctions meted out appropriately to curb impunity, while the monies should be recovered. Government should pursue diversification of the economy with renewed vigour.”
The Pyrates Confraternity further called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises with policies that are favourable, adding that power supply in the country should also be checked as it has continually crippled productive activities in the country and discouraged investment.
Also lamenting the insecurity ravaging different parts of the country, the seadogs said Buhari had the sole responsibility to save the economy.
“If need be, the President should issue executive orders to encourage the establishment of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and promote export policy and job creation.
“Nigeria’s economic turmoil cannot end without the Federal Government resolving the power supply issue in Nigeria. The absence of regular and adequate electricity has crippled productive activities and discouraged investment. This ugly drift should be redressed. It is incumbent on the Federal Government to speed up its investment and needed reforms in the power sector to improve power supply which is critical to industrialisation and opening up of the economy for more investments.
“More importantly, the Federal Government must move beyond its current impulse to fight insecurity. The devastating effect of insecurity on farming, commerce, and other economic activities is overwhelming. Nigeria’s economic downturn cannot be reversed if terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers continue their orgy of unrestrained violence across the country.
“The ball is in the court of President Buhari as a sense of responsibility to save the Nigerian economy from imploding thereby saving Nigeria from an impending disaster,” the statement concluded.