The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for approving N37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex.
The party made the criticism in a press statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary Abdul Gombe and released to newsmen on Thursday in Kaduna.
The party urged President Buhari to urgently withdraw his approval for what it called ‘lavish, ostentatious and superfluous renovation’.
Part of the statement reads:
“We consider the approval of N37 billion you granted for renovation of the National Assembly, (a complex built with nearly N7.5 billion) in addition to their 2020 budget of N128 billion a wrong step and a misplacement of priority. This approval totally negates the fundamental principle of our party, the PRP, considering the fact that it is coming at a time when Nigerians are experiencing excruciating human suffering from hunger and poverty.
“This renovation at the reported humongous amount of N37 billion makes it obvious that the APC as a party does not consider the masses of this nation in its actions. They have shown their total lack of sympathy and empathy to the sufferings of Nigerians. It shows that the welfare and wellbeing of a selected few is the priority of this Government to the detriment of the wellbeing of Nigerians.
“It is in light of these issues that the PRP without any reservation calls on President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to urgently withdraw his approval for this ‘lavish, ostentatious and superfluous renovation’ as it is, wasteful, extravagant and insensitive to the interest of Nigerians. We also advise that the funds be channeled into meaningful projects that would practically alleviate the hardships of the citizens of Nigeria.”
In addition, the party reiterated its stance in respect of the controversial additional $29.6 billion loan request sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“In its maiden Media Dialogue held on December 3rd 2019, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) had whilst commenting on 2020 Budget called for reduction of the unacceptable rising debt profile of Nigeria under present APC Government and urged the National Assembly not to approve the request of the Executive that sought approval of the Senate to borrow additional $29.6 billion which would increase total national debt stock to $103 billion from current position of $64 billion. The party revealed.
“Since our Media Dialogue, we have heard comments of the Federal Minister of Finance, the Senate President, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and a number of commentators. Whilst we agree as urged by the pro-borrowing speakers that there is the need to borrow to finance capital projects where there is budget deficit, we would like to say that these people are not addressing these concerns on ever increasing national debt namely:
“That the public has not been shown how and where previous borrowing have been used.
“The rising debt stock may further impoverish the nation that currently spends about 50% of its revenue in servicing existing debts as further spending to service more debts would cripple the economy and send the polity into further social problems; and.
“The citizenry of the State have a right to know the details of these borrowings such as amount to be borrowed, tenor of borrowing, use to which the funds are to be put to and how the borrowings are to be repaid.
“Neither the Senate President nor the Minister of Finance has attempted to address these issues which are germane.
“To drive the points home, we in the PRP would take the example of Kaduna State Government’s intended borrowing of $350million or N127billion borrowing and the Federal Government borrowing of $500million for staple Crops Processing Zone Development out of total borrowing of $29.6billion before the National Assembly. Mr. Senate President, Kaduna State is today the 9th most indebted state in Nigeria with total debts to N162 billion against Internally Generated Revenue of N44 billion per annum (as its surest revenue).
“From you Mr. Senate President as you are the one defending the additional borrowings of $29.6billion, the citizens of Kaduna State would like to know:
“What has the previous N164 billion debt borrowed by Kaduna State Government been used for and what revenues or employment have these debts generated?
The purpose for the additional $350million or $127 billion borrowing as what has been put in available documents as purpose of this loan is “Development Policy Operation”, a term that is not clear for which reason you need to tell them what is the purpose of this borrowing; and
How can Kaduna State Government with an IGR of N44 billion as its only surest annual income service a debt of N291 billion?
“On the Federal Government’s $500m borrowing from African Development Bank under Staple Crops Processing Zone Development, the citizens of Nigeria want to know as to what “Staple Crops Processing Zone Development mean, what benefits would accrue to Nigerians from this debt and how would all the debt be repaid?
“Mr. Senate President, as you have assigned to yourself the role of the Chief Spokesman of this APC Government, we demand to know from you answers to the aforementioned questions as well as the details of all the rest of the borrowing totaling $29.6 billion. Until we know these details, we are in sync with the stand taken by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on these debts of $29.6 billion but unlike Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, we would urge the citizens of this country and the states to occupy the National Assembly if you fail to stop these borrowings.” The statement added.
Ultimately, the party cautioned the National Assembly against becoming the rubber stamp of the Executive Arm of Government.
“We therefore caution the Legislature to stop being the rubber stamp of the Executive Arm by granting all the whims and caprices of Mr. President as we see in the request of additional debts of $29.6 billion. It is important, on this note, to remind our legislators that they were elected to, among others, checkmate the excesses of the Executive Arm, particularly the President.” The party stated.