By Aaron Ossai, Abuja
As Nigerians continue to applaud the economic viability of the 2018 budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly recently by President Muhammadu Buhari, former member of the National Assembly, Senator Caleb Zagi has commended the federal government for allocating substantial funds to critical sectors of the economy such as Agriculture, Power, Road, Railway and Security.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja, Senator Zagi stated that some of the projects highlighted in the budget proposal and funds allocated to them were indicators for “a better and brighter tomorrow” capable of delivering dividends of democracy at the door steps of Nigerians.
He said that the N555.88 billion allocated to Power, Works and Housing, N263.10 billion, N118.98 billion, N95.11 billion, N150 billion and N145 billion allocated to Transportation, Agriculture and Rural Development, Water Resources, Special Intervention Programme and Defence respectively are all indicators the Buhari administration meant well for Nigerians.
According to Senator Zagi, the allocation of N300 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of roads across the country, the N10 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge as well as the proposed completion of East-West Road, with a provision of about N17.32 billion are also commendable considering the deplorable state of roads in the country.
“Implementation of these budgetary provisions will enhance cheap transportation and promote commerce”, he remarked.
Speaking further, Senator Zagi who represented Kaduna South Senatorial District during the 6th Senate in the National Assembly said “the allocation confirms Federal Government’s commitment to stable and sufficient electricity supply to power the nation’s industrial sector for economic prosperity as well as its determination to fix dilapidated roads and bridges across the country.”
Senator Zagi who is also a renowned lawyer commended the federal government on ongoing railway projects saying “the economic fortunes envisaged in the revolutionary railway projects underscores the importance the Federal Government attaches to good transportation system in the country and commerce.”
While appealing to members of the National Assembly to ensure quick passage of the budget, he also appealed to the federal government to also pay special attention to other crucial areas of the economy such as health, education, solid Mineral and information.
On security issue, Senator Zagi commended the Muhammadu Buhari led administration for decimating members of the sect that has caused grievous damage to lives and property in the North eastern part of the country and urge same efforts to be exerted to contain the incessant attacks by the Fulani herdsmen in various parts of the country.
He also commended government for allocating a whooping sum of N65 billion for the Presidential Amnesty Programme as well as increasing the budget of the Niger Delta Ministry from N34.20 billion in 2017 to N53.89 billion in 2018 to speedily develop and provide modern infrastructure in the area.
This, he said will also go a long way in ensuring peace in the Niger Delta region and increase in oil production and economic activities in the region.
It would be recalled that the key parameters of 2018 budget, tagged “Budget of Consolidation’’, which was presented to the joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari include a crude oil benchmark price of 45 dollars per barrel, oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day and exchange rate of N305 per dollar. It also has projected oil revenue of N2.442 trillion and non-oil projection of N4.165 trillion. Senator Zagi believes that these parameters and estimates are quite realistic and achievable under the circumstances.