Buhari to unruly lawmakers: ‘Comport yourself…the world is watching’
Like a father to unruly children, President Muhammadu Buhari told a noisy and heckling minority members of the National Assembly disrupting his budget speech to be decorous.
“Comport yourself. The World is watching us.. We should be above this,” the unflappable president said.
The statement appeared to have jolted the puerile opposition members a bit, into silence, as the president was allowed to read his speech.
At the end of the speech, the noisy minority members started again, although for good measure they were overwhelmed, for some time, by the chants of ‘SAI BABA, SAI BUHARI’, being chanted by members of the All Progressives Congress at the joint sitting.
However, their noisy disruptions continued, such that their leader, Speaker Yakubu Dogara could not read his statement, to bring proceedings to an end.
After waiting for sometime for the conclusion of the rite, President Buhari and his entourage departed.
Contrary to a report, he was not whisked away.
As he meandered through the chambers, members of his All Progressives Congress formed a guard of honour of sorts, with the president exchanging pleasantries with some of them, as he walked assuredly past them.
The president arrived the complex at 12:40 amidst cheers from the lawmakers, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC lawmakers.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was also at the complex.
Osinbajo arrived at about 11: 40 a.m. and was ushered into the chamber in the company of ministers and other government functionaries.
According to President Buhari, the federal budget for 2019 will be N8.83 trillion, N300 billion lower than the N9.1 billion being implemented for the current fiscal year.
According to Buhari, N4.04 trillion or 50.31 per cent is earmarked for recurrent expenditure and N2.03 trillion representing 22.98 per cent earmarked for capital projects.
Other estimates are N492.36 billion for statutory transfers; N2.14 trillion for debt servicing and provision of N120 billion as sinking fund.
He explained that the sinking fund would be used to “retire maturing bonds to local contractors”.
The 2019 budget proposal is based on an oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar.
Other benchmarks are: real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 3.01 per cent and inflation rate of 9.98 per cent.
The total projected revenue, according to the president, is N6.97 trillion, which is three per cent lower than the 2018 estimate of N7.17 trillion.
Buhari said the expected income consisted of oil revenue projected at N3.73 trillion, and non-oil revenue estimated at N1.39 trillion.
“The estimate from non-oil revenue consists of N799.52 billion from company income tax; N229.34 billion from value added tax, and customs duties of N302.5 billion.
“We have reduced our expectations from independent revenue to N624.58 billion.
“Other revenues expected in 2019 include various recoveries of N203.38 billion; N710 billion as proceeds from the restructuring of government equity in joint ventures, and other sundry incomes of N104.1 billion,” he said.