member of the House of Representatives, Bode Ayorinde, has hinted that the National Assembly will slash the over N6trillion 2016 budget presented to it by President Muhammadu Buhari, following the dwindling fortunes of the price of crude oil in the international market.
He argued that critics should wait for the National Assembly to conclude work on the document and for the President to append his signature, before taking the government up on its content.
Mr. Ayorinde, who is the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business and a governorship aspirant in Ondo State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, also said the hoopla over the 2016 budget was unnecessary as the document was still “a mere proposal”.
“I am telling you, the budget is going to be reduced, oil is no longer $130 per barrel, it is now $28,” he said, while speaking to journalists in Akure on Monday.
“So you don’t expect the agencies to just take the capital budget and start implementing. Where are they going to get the money from?
“It is different from when we pegged the oil price at $70 and we sold at $100, and so we created sovereign wealth fund and excess crude account.
“Now is there anything called excess crude, what are going to share now, we are now sharing deficit. No salary for workers.”
He said committees of the House had almost concluded work on the budget estimate having brought ministries, departments and agencies to defend their proposals.
“I have a copy of the budget in my office and I don’t have any problems with it,” he said.
“The budget was given to us and full of typographical errors. The president wrote to bring in a neater copy and informed the house that the first one contained errors.
“Journalists said there are two budgets. There are no two budgets in the legislature. When the president brought the corrected copy, we jettisoned the one with errors.
“Whatever has come from the president is a proposal for God’s sake. It is what now emanates after the fireworks of the committees that the President will sign into law,” he stressed.
“Why are we quarreling about a mere proposal? You will have a business with the budget that will be ready first or second week of March.”
On his governorship ambition, Mr. Ayorinde said he had the experience to turn the state around, given his achievement in his private business.
According to him, the present situation in the state calls for expertise in the area of finance and administration, acknowledging that Governor Olusegun Mimiko had done well in the health sector because he is a medical doctor, but had failed in bringing economic development to the state because of his deficiencies in that field.
He also faulted Mr. Mimiko’s drive to fund the economy through internally generated revenue, saying that it would not help the government out of its current financial situation.
“Any government that wants to run a state on internally generated revenue will run the state aground,” he said.
“I am a businessman, and we must think outside the box to turn the state around.”
While promising to turn the state around through the creation of industries in the state when he becomes governor, Mr. Ayorinde also said there was need to embark on wealth creation through creativity.
Mr. Ayorinde, who is also the Pro-chancellor of Achievers University, is running against 24 other aspirants for the APC ticket for the governorship election which holds later in the year.
He explained that the large number of interested persons in the state’s governorship seat showed that the APC had become a brand that people could trust.