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2 May 2019

Saraki, Akpabio, Tinubu, Others To Pocket N24 Billion, As Number Of Poor Nigerians Rises To 91 Million

Its no longer news that the National Assembly has passed the 2019 budget, by jerking the revenue size by N90billion.

What’s news is that outgoing Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and several other members of the 8th National Assembly will pocket a whopping N23.678n as severance package.

The chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Mustafa Dawakin, APC, Kano, disclosed that severance fees of N24.6billion would be paid to members of the House of Representatives and senators in the 2019 budget.

Consequently, the National Assembly passed a total budget of N8.916trn, against the N8.826trn earlier proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In the presentation of the report by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, APC, Gombe Central, the N90 billion increase in the budget profile include N23.678 billion, added as severance gratuity for outgoing federal lawmakers and their legislative aides.

According to Goje, the N23.678billion severance   package for outgoing legislators also included induction programme/inauguration of the Ninth Assembly.

Also part of the N90 billion added to the entire aggregate expenditure of the budget is the N10 billion intervention fund approved for tackling current humanitarian crisis in Zamfara State, while the balance of about N66 billion is additional vote appropriated for the various security agencies  to strengthen the fight against all forms of crimes in the land.

According to him, in implementing the just approved N30,000 minimum wage for public servants, the N160 billion proposed as service wide votes was appropriated for, under the Public Service wage adjustment for Ministries, Department and Agencies, MDAs.

Both committees recommended and approved that all the parameters upon which the budget estimates are based were retained. They include $60 per barrel oil price bench mark, 2.3 million barrel per day production level and N305 to one US dollar as exchange rate.

Speaking further, Goje explained that the President was at liberty to submit more financial request for approval of the National Assembly to further fund the minimum wage increase if what had been approved was not enough.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said: “l want to thank our colleagues, particularly for their understanding and for us to be able to meet today’s deadline in passing the bill and thank the committee on appropriation too.

“I hope that with this budget passed, the Executive will also ensure the full implementation of the Budget for the benefit of Nigerians as a whole.”

This unjustifiable allocation is already generating mix reactions as the World Poverty Clock recently announced that the number of extremely poor Nigerians has risen to 91.6 million.

This implies that virtually half of Nigeria’s population now live in extreme poverty while their elected lawmakers, who are suppose to serve the interest of the people continue to appropriate billions of Naira for themselves.

The World Poverty Clock had named Nigeria the poverty capital of the world last June when it revealed that Nigeria had 87 million people living in poverty.

The latest figure shows that an additional four million Nigerians have since fallen under the poverty line.

The report adds that six Nigerians become poor every minute.

The World Poverty Clock is a tool to monitor progress against poverty globally. It uses publicly available data on income distribution, production, and consumption, provided by various international organisations, most notably the United Nations, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

According to the World Poverty Clock which was created by Vienna-based World Data Lab, 91.16 million Nigerians were living below a dollar a day as of February 13, 2019.

The World Bank says a person can be said to be living in extreme poverty, if they live below the poverty line of $1.90 which translates to N693.5 per day.

The President Muhammadu Buhari government had last year rejected the report, insisting that it had created jobs especially in the area of agriculture and reduced poverty. However, British Prime Minister, Theresa May, reiterated the statistics during her visit to Nigeria last year.

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