Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Federal Government has blasted the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, over his criticism of the N2.17 trillion supplementary budget recently approved by the National Assembly, and assented to by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Obi had knocked the President for signing the supplementary budget which he said, was not addressing pressing National needs
The former Anambra State Governor, had on Wednesday, via a post on his X handle (formerly Twitter), lamented that the supplementary budget failed to capture “urgent items of national welfare.”
He accused the Federal Government of being “uncaring and insensitive to the plights of Nigerians.”
But in a swift response, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said that the budget signed into law on Wednesday by Tinubu, was a reflection of the administration’s “bold and pragmatic response to the pressing and economic challenges Nigeria currently faces.”
In a statement issued Thursday by his Special Assistant on Media, Rabiu Ibrahim, Idris disagreed with Obi, and cautioned him against faulting Government on the supplementary appropriation.
The statement obtained by Ikengaonline read: “the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party to take the time and effort to acquaint himself with the details of the N2.17 trillion 2023 Supplementary Budget, which includes allocations for essential sectors: security, agriculture and food security, works and housing, wage increase for workers, student loan scheme and social safety nets, among others, all aimed at strengthening the country’s economic foundations and improve the living conditions of Nigerians.
“The broad provisions in the supplementary budget are a reflection of President Tinubu’s strong desire and eagerness to support the vital functions of government, address urgent security needs, and fast-track the country’s recovery process from the economic impact occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy.”
It further told “political opposition to be informed and balanced in the exercise of their right to differing opinions and refrain from misrepresentation of facts for political gains,”
The statement explained that the supplementary budget was “derived from the active engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholders who ensured that the budgetary provisions aligned with the needs and expectations of Nigerians.”
The minister noted that all items contained in the budget had been “meticulously scrutinised” before its passage into law; a show of Tinubu’s “inclination to accountability and transparency in government expenditure,” to “ensure efficient utilisation of public funds.”