LAGOS – Senator Gbenga Ashafa, lawmaker representing Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly has called on the Federal Government to ensure quick and frequent capital releases to ensure that the 2019 budget is adequately implemented.
Ashafa, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Road Transport made this remarks during his contribution to the general principles of the 2019 budget on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari formally presented the 2019 budget proposal of N8.83 trillion at a joint session of the National Assembly in December 2018.
In his contributions, Ashafa reiterated his earlier reiterated his earlier remarks that a budget, no matter how huge amounts to nothing if it is not implemented.
“Like I usually emphasise, it is not the size of the budget that is most important. What is most important is its implementation. Though we may have a large budget, without implementation is as good as no budget. This is an area that I would want the executive to look at in a manner that capital would be increased and released on time with primary focus on going critical infrastructural projects.”
He went on further to say that the Government in its bid to diversify the economy has placed much importance on Agriculture. However, in the absence of a good Transportation system movement of farm produce will be difficult. He therefore commended the Executive for including in the 2019 budget allocations that will improve on the transportation system of the country.
He said “ I am particularly impressed that the executive knowing the importance of infrastructure to the development of the economy has decided to prioritize on-going critical infrastructure by allocating capital for them in the 2019 budget”.
“Most especially in the transportat ion sector N80.22 billion Counterpart funding has been allocated for such railway projects including Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri) Port Harcourt- Maiduguri, Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi in Niger Republic, Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja (Warri)-Warri Port and Refinery Including Warri New Harbour and Bonny Deep Sea Port Port Harcourt and other Rail Projects Also about N27.12 billion has been allocated for various rehabilitation of railway tracks across the nation.”
Ashafa concluded his contribution by urging the National Assembly not to waste time in considering the budget and passing same into law.
“It is quite understandable that work is commencing on the budget a bit late, due to the just concluded General elections which has eaten into the available time. The National Assembly must now expeditiously attend to the passage of the 2019 Appropriation Bill without allowing room for any distraction”.
“Let me use this medium to call on all agencies of Government to be up and doing and stand ready with all necessary documents to ensure that the 2019 Appropriation Bill is passed urgently”.