February 21, 2024

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, says the current administration cannot afford to fail Nigerians by changing the rules and charting a new course for the citizenry.

Abbas said this while giving his remarks during the presentation of the 2024 appropriation bill by President Bola Tinubu.

He said it was a well-known fact that millions of the citizenry were living through incredibly difficult times.

He said, “For this reason, they also look to the Tinubu-led government to provide quick and sustainable solutions.”

According to him, the antecedents of the President and your track record in governance inspire a lot of hope in Nigerians, and it is for this reason that we cannot afford to fail Nigerians.

He said, “If anyone can change the rot and chart a new course for Nigeria, it is you.

I have no doubt whatsoever that we can measure up to the expectations of Nigerians through your visionary leadership and the commitment of the National Assembly.

He said the budget laid before the lawmakers should not be seen as a mere financial document but as a reflection of our collective resolve to address the most critical needs of our long-suffering citizens.

He said that in order to promote economic growth and development, the 2024 budget should prioritise social welfare programmes to help reduce poverty and inequality.

He said, “Equally important is job creation and youth empowerment in view of the large and ever-growing youth population.

He said failure to do this would amount to failure to invest in the future of the country, adding that the budget must prioritise investment in education and healthcare.

This, according to him, is critical to human capital development and a more productive workforce.

He said, “Infrastructure development is another critical area of importance, which is crucial for economic growth, adding that the biggest challenge was balancing these priorities within the constraints of available resources.

Abbas said that in view of the related challenge of a high level of public debt, NASS would ensure that the 2024 budget includes concrete strategies for sustainable debt management.

This, he said, includes measures to increase revenue and control expenditure, adding that the focus should be on raising more revenue through tax reform, fiscal reform, and subsidy reform.

Others include foreign exchange convergence and centralised revenue collection, among others.

The sparker called for an urgent need for revenue-generating agencies to double their targets to meet the N18 trillion in revenue projected in the budget.

He added that the effectiveness and legitimacy of fiscal policies depend to a very large extent on public support.

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