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Lawmakers Lament Rising Debt, Crude Oil Theft, Seek Solutions

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House of Reps

The House of Representatives, at resumption of plenary on Tuesday, expressed concerns over the rising debt profile of the country and crude oil theft. House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila raised the fears while delivering his welcome remarks.

Gbajabiamila stated that the concerns emerged from interactive sessions of the Senate and House Committees on Finance with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP). He said the issues emerged while considering the scope of deficit financing to be proposed in the new budget and the decline in crude oil production due to theft and sabotage.

Gbajabiamila said while the House appreciated that the current fiscal conditions necessitated borrowing to finance budgetary expenditures, there should be worry about the long-term effect of the debt burden on the country and the ability to pay in a responsible and sustainable way.

The concerns, he said, would be central to the consideration of the 2023 Appropriation Bill when presented, adding that appropriations for new projects for MDAs would be influenced by the extent to which existing projects have been funded and their performance in executing these projects as intended.

On crude oil theft, the speaker said perpetrators of the brazen heist threatened the ability to serve the Nigerian people and meet the demands of governance and nation building. He described their actions as treason against the country, for which they must be held accountable.

Gbajabiamila stated, “Due to theft and various acts of economic sabotage, we are experiencing a massive decline in the volume of crude oil exports. Our crude oil export of 972,394 bpd for August is the lowest we have recorded in the last two decades.

“At a time when we are already experiencing severe financial constraints. There are mechanisms in place to prevent these sorts of bad actors, and the government spends significant amounts of money each year to protect oil and gas resources in the country.

“Evidently, these existing arrangements do not suffice. As such, there is an urgent need to review them and make the necessary improvements. It is also of particular importance that the perpetrators of these crimes against the state are identified, prosecuted and subjected to the stiffest penalties the law allows.

“Those who seek to impoverish our country in this manner have declared war against the Nigerian people.

“The government’s response must be sufficient to convince them of the error of their ways and deter others who might be tempted to join in their treason.

“I met with the finance minister and the Director General of Budget and made it clear to them that enough of crude oil theft. Nigerians don’t want to hear that again. What do you intend to do about it? That’s the important question.”

Speaking on the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Gbajabiamila said the current framework of government-sponsored tertiary education was no longer working. He said the goal of the House was to begin an assessment of the current system and consider all available options for complete reform.

The speaker claimed that the country recently recorded significant victories against the purveyors of violence and conflict across the country. He said the explosive growth in the trade and consumption of narcotics contributed to the worsening insecurity in the country,

He warned that the country could not afford to be overrun by the cancer of the drug trade and the devastation it brought.

Gbajabiamila lamented that various priority bills were still pending at different stages, despite the limited time available for the ninth House.

 


    Lawmakers Lament Rising Debt, Crude Oil Theft, Seek Solutions - Felicia Chinyere - Sep 30, 2022 5:19 pm

    Everytime lament ,confirm. Powerless, weak and corrupt politicians that is protecting themselves

    Reply