N800bn supplementary budget: Our Army has no excuse not to defeat insurgency ― Senator Ndume

• Seeks attention for agric, manufacturing sectors

Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has reacted to the Federal Government dispatch of N800bn supplementary budget to the National Assembly for its approval.

Senator Ndume who incidentally is the Chairman Senator Committee on Army said with the development, the military no longer has an excuse to complain about inadequate funding for arms and equipment to combat insurgents and bandits.

He said he was delighted that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has responded positively to the observations that the military could only be ahead of the insurgents making life unbearable for Nigerians in the North-East if only they were better equipped.

He said: “On the issue of insecurity, I have been advocating an increase in the military funding but that has now been done by the recent submission of the supplementary budget of over N800bn by the executive arm of government to the National Assembly, majority of the money is meant to address the security challenges in the country. This is a commendable effort by President Buhari.

“With this now, there is light at the end of the tunnel because if the materials and necessary military hardware and equipment are immediately purchased, and handed over to the military, I am sure that the Nigerian Army who is known for their gallantry in international assignments will be able to do more to defend the internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.”

Responding to reservations against a mounting request for an external loan by the Executive arm of government before the Parliament, Senator Ndume argued that there was nothing to be worried about provided the fund were judiciously utilised.

He further advocated that the loan when approved should be used to stimulate growth, particularly in the area of mechanised agriculture and the manufacturing sector.

“Concerning the issue of foreign loan borrowings, the problem is not about borrowing because the idea is not bad. Even developed nations also do the same thing. It is what the government do with the money that is important. The concentration on infrastructural development by the Buhari administration, especially in the area of railway and road infrastructure is commendable.

“The Federal Government should look at the possibility of borrowing for agricultural development so that our people will move from subsistence farming to a mechanised one. If that is achieved, it will generate employment and guarantee food security. Also, there would be no need for Nigeria to spend foreign exchange on food importation. “We can produce all types of food in Nigeria only if the farmers are well funded. The borrowings should be spent on the purchase of farm implements and other farming machinery and make it available to farmers.

“The external loans should also be used to fund moribund industries especially textile and spare part manufacturing among others. It is only through that the government can guarantee borrowings because the manufacturing industries will come up again through the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria. The government can serve as a guarantee for the loans so that MAN would coordinate the process of resuscitating the moribund industries that had been closed down.

“The loans should be borrowed from the international lending agencies whose terms are very good in order to develop our road infrastructure and mount toll plazas in order to generate revenue to pay back the loans. Borrowings should not be made to defray recurrent expenditure like the payment of salaries. Funding for such purposes should be sourced locally from taxes and other internally generated revenues.”

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VERDICT: MISLEADING!N800bn supplementary budget: Our Army has no excuse not to defeat insurgency ― Senator Ndume

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