Posted by Chuks Collins, Awka | 18 April 2016 | 2,630 times
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said that except all the observed omissions, controversial and grey areas in the 2016 budget were straightened out, President Muhammadu Buhari may continue to withhold his assent.
President Buhari had few weeks ago withheld assent to the budget as passed by the National Assembly which didn’t go down well with the legislature, fueling accusations of surreptitious removal of certain projects like the Lagos-Calabar rail-line against NASS.
The minister spoke at Amawbia, Anambra State, at the weekend during the resettlement empowerment of about 30 graduates of the vocational skills development programme with equipment and micro-credit loan of N20,000 each to start off small businesses as fresh impetus to continue creating wealth, sustainable and decent jobs in the state. He said that with this round of empowerment over 2,800 new businesses would have been generated across 17 other states in the country where the graduate scheme took place simultaneously.
Ngige noted that even if there were any mistakes in the budget, the National Assembly should summon the courage to correct them without friction.
He called on well meaning Nigerians to rally round the Federal Government in its quest to turn around the economy. The minister said that the Buhari administration sort of started afresh on all parameters having come on board when the price of crude oil suddenly nose-dived from above $100 per barrel to about $40 per barrel with almost every other sector of the economy going comatose.
According to him, “As it is today oil subsidy has been removed and refineries were not working before Buhari came on board.
“It is like we are starting a fresh. We borrowed money within the acceptable norms, to finance projects. When you hear that Lagos-Calabar rail line is removed, you must know that where a child is crying and pointing either has mother or father is these. There must be something there.
“The rail line is critical to the southern parts of Nigeria. It will ease evacuation of goods and heavy equipment. We need it. But things must be done correctly.
“Now we have been hearing rumour about the Onitsha-Enugu express and we decided to review the project. We have borrowed money to ensure that these projects are executed but the stories we are hearing are too many and that is why the project is stalled.
“There could be mistakes but the National Assembly should be man enough to correct them if noticed. The President will not sign the budget until all mistakes are streamlined.”
•Photo shows President Buhari.
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