A former governor of Ebonyi State, Sen. Sam Egwu, on Monday said the former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmunini Jibrin, chose the wrong time to speak on the budget padding.
Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi North) , a former governor of Ebonyi, said on Monday the issues that arose from Jibrin’s allegation delayed the passage of the 2016 budget.
He said, “Jibrin had the choice to make the allegations long ago, as I am aware that many legislators wanted to belong to the appropriation committees of both arms of the National Assembly.
“The issues of budget padding among other things gave rise to the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget and this affected its smooth passage at the National Assembly.
The former minister of education said that before Jibrin’s allegation, the legislators who belonged to the appropriation committees alleged that he was the cause of the problems that bedevilled the budget passage.
He said, “The legislators even alleged that Jibrin hijacked the budget process and handled the whole process and its activities alone.
“One can then ask why he is shouting now because he should be among those that should be investigated, being part of the process from the beginning.”
Egwu blamed the current economic recession in the country on the recklessness of the country’s past leaders in economic matters, with the populace also being culpable.
He said, “The country imported virtually every item without paying attention to production, with the populace having the wrong notion that all locally-made goods are inferior.
“The country depended entirely on oil revenue as the government worsened the situation by giving concession to import goods which discouraged manufacturers and intending ones.
“The situation made the manufacturers view importation as an easy way to make money and we got to a point that the country depended on its foreign reserves for importation.”
He noted that because importation could not be done with local currency, the foreign reserves started depleting and drastically affected the country economically.
“It is accepted that the present administration met a terrible condition on ground with the young people’s’ perception of making easy money without working worsening the situation.”
He said that the issue of the National Assembly giving President Muhammadu Buhari emergency powers to handle the recession was a temporary measure, especially on procurement.
He said, “I know as a former minister of education that procurement processes take time and there is already a bill on the issue before the National Assembly which I support wholeheartedly.
“Allowing the National Assembly to pass the law will be for the nation’s economic good.”