By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to reserve its recent slash on the health and education sectors budget after it reviewed the country’s 2020 budget.
Recall that the apex government had approved the slash in the 2020 budgetary allocation of basic healthcare from N44.5 billion to N25.5 billion and the Universal Basic Education (UBE) from N111.7 billion to N51.1 billion following the effect of coronavirus on the nation’s revenue-generating power and crash in global prices of crude oil.
But, the leading opposition party while kicking against the action, said the cut in the education and health budgets amidst the global health challenges remains a testament to the insensitivity of the APC-led administration to the plight of Nigerians.
PDP, through a statement released to newsmen on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, also faulted the N27.7 billion approved for the renovation of the National Assembly complex which was not in distressed despite slashing the budgets of critical sectors.
The party advised the President to reverse the slash in the budgets of the two sub-sectors to reflect a 100 percent increase in view of the health challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the PDP has nothing against any effort to improve on the working condition of our federal legislature, placing the renovation of the National Assembly complex above health care at this critical time is a scandalous misplacement of national priority by President Buhari and APC Presiding officers.
“Moreover, our party has been made aware that this development does not reflect the views of the majority of federal lawmakers. A critical analysis of the allocations indicates that with the N25.5 billion voted for primary health care in a country of over 200 million citizens, President Buhari and the APC plan to spend only about N125 per Nigerian at the primary health care level, within the 2020 fiscal year.
“In the same vein, with the N51.1 billion allocation for basic education in a country of estimated 43 million school-age children, the APC Federal Government is deeming it proper to spend only N1,186 per child at the UBE level in 2020 fiscal year.
“The PDP wonders if the APC government targets to achieve more out-of-school children as well as more health need deficit in our country. It is even more distressing that the APC administration would still cut the primary healthcare budget in spite of the recent confession by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, that our health sector had gone moribund despite claims of interventions by the current administration.
“Moreover, the slashing of the budget, for basic education despite the poor state of the sector since the last five years, shows that the APC administration has no value for education and prefers to draw our nation back in global competitiveness in critical sectors”, the statement read.