“It makes no sense to sell public assets simply to fund a ‘business-as-usual’ budget that is essentially 70 per cent recurrent.”
Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Former vice president and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Abubakar Atiku has described plan by the Federal Government to sell some public assets to fund next year’s budget as fiscal irresponsibility.
In a statement by his presidential campaign organisation, yesterday, Atiku said the $322 million returned to the country, as part of funds looted by the regime of the late Sani Abacha, ought to have been deployed to fund the 2019 budget.
“It makes no sense to sell public assets simply to fund a ‘business-as-usual’ budget that is essentially 70 per cent recurrent. It is irresponsible to part with valuable assets simply to consume the proceeds (Like selling your family house to take a trip overseas on holiday).
“We knew that such a day would come, which is why His Excellency Atiku Abubakar has on various occasions made it clear that what is needed at this time is fundamentally fiscal restructuring to eliminate our addiction to oil revenues and strengthen our internal revenue generating capacity and a restructuring of the budget in favour of capital spending.
“For instance, last month, the PDP presidential candidate questioned the wisdom behind the Federal Government sharing $322 million Abacha loot to certain Nigerians, only to obtain a $328 million loan from China, allegedly for ICT development.
“Rather than share that money, the Buhari administration ought to have put that $322 million in an escrow account to be used for funding the 2019 budget.
“Also, we recall that $43 million was found in an Ikoyi apartment. While we note the failed promise of
the Buhari administration to come clean on who was behind those monies, we make bold to say that those funds should equally have been placed in escrow for use in funding the 2019 budget,” Atiku stated.
When contacted for reactions, spokesman of the Buhari campaign organisation, Festus Keyamo referred our correspondent to the Presidency. Repeated efforts to reach the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu and Personal Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie were unsuccessful, as they did not answer calls to their mobile lines.