The House of Representatives on Friday in Abuja continued its debate on the 2024 budget, with some lawmakers demanding increased funding for transportation, health, and education.
Fredrick Agbedi (PDP-Bayelsa) said that in the transportation area, the people from the riverine areas were the most neglected, adding that no reference was made to their suffering.
“We appeared to be a people not considered in the 2024 appropriation bill; the federal government must attend to this,” Mr Agbedi said. “If the people who need our help can be connected by rail, it will solve our problem.“
Mr Agbedi said the state governments were constructing most federal roads in the three senatorial districts in Bayelsa, adding that this alone made them feel neglected.
Rep. Ginger Owusibe (LP-Abia) said the title of the 2024 budget, “Renewed Hope,” emphasised the importance of the budget to the country.
He said that considering the UNESCO 26 percent recommendation for education, the 2024 appropriation needed to meet the standard, adding that this should be considered to achieve success.
The lawmaker said the budget for the health sector was not enough, considering the experience of COVID-19 in 2020, adding that there should be adequate provision to tackle any emergency.
Mr Owusibe said all geopolitical zones must be treated equally in project distribution, adding that the South-East region had been mistreated.
On his part, Domini Okafor (APGA-Anambra) said the budget theme could not have come at a better time when the hope of Nigerians needed to be renewed.
He said many Nigerians do not want to pay taxes, but if this budget is effectively implemented, it will regain their confidence.
Cyril Godwin (PDP-Rivers) said the renewed hope agenda would be a reality if members took their oversight duties seriously.
Mr Godwin said, “We need critical investment to be able to meet our target; the major loss is the lack of investment. We need oil revenue to go into other sectors, particularly agriculture.”
Ahmed Muniru (PDP-Kaduna) said the N27.5 trillion proposed was not the issue; the judicious use of the money that would ensure it touched every sector remained the problem.
“If we cannot have good roads, transportation, and good health, our woes will be on the rise, and if we cannot checkmate corruption, it will not augur well,” he said.
The 2024 appropriation bill has passed its second reading, and the House adjourned till December 12.
This is to enable the various committees to commence budget defence with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).