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Tinubu Declares 2016 Budget As Anti-Women; Warns Against Opposition

Sen. Remi Tinubu

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The N6.08trillion 2016 budget estimates on Tuesday suffered further credibility crisis on the floor of the Senate, as Senator Oluremi Tinubu ( APC Lagos Central) , described it as anti- women.

Tinubu who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, lamented that the total allocation of less than N4billion earmarked for the entire Ministry of Women Affairs in the budget which encompasses women empowerment programmes, was so meager that if care is not taken, government might at the end of the day, incur the wrath of women.

According to her, the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC), has development- driven programmes for the women folk in its manifesto , upon which they were galvanized for the party’s victory in the last election, only for them to now be abandoned, with the poor budgetary allocation.

“This budget as far as its allocations for the Nigerian women are concerned , is not telling anything and not making any promises and must be critically reviewed at committee level”, she fumed.

Her submission: “Mr President, distinguished colleagues, is it not true with the saying that when we educate the girl-child we have educated the entire nation. The APC in his manifesto mentioned that there is need for an all encompassing empowerment programmes for Nigerian women, such comprehensive empowerment requires fund which should be included in the budget for implementation.

“But going through the budget for the Federal ministry of women affairs, I discovered that the total allocation to the women ministry is so meager and I think it would be the least allocation received that is allotted to a ministry.

“And when we look at the functions of this ministry, we see that the ministry is divided into two divisions; human resources and capacity building, economic services and women cooperative but when we look at the first division which is the human resources and capacity building, they are supposed to promote education, development of women in the civil, political, socio cultural and economic sectors”.

“Also to promote motherhood women’s health especially maternal mortality and not only that they are supposed to port six zonal political empowerment offices subventions and grants to NGOs, Nigerian women trust fund, management of shelters for female victims of violence, 100 women lucky groups, welfare support for indigent women etc.

“Am just laying this case on behalf of the Nigerian women that this is not going to go well, is as if we have been used during the campaign and we said this is a government of change that her change mantra is supposed to change things across board.

“But what they have allotted to the Nigerian woman has not really done so well, is not encouraging. When we talk about change that doesn’t mean we are going to dodge and supporting what is not working but we are just starting and this is the best way to start and this is not going down well with us.

“So the women are not just going to be used for campaign and several promises are made to them if not they are going to incur the wrath of the Nigerian woman.

“On behalf of the Nigerian woman, am making their case today that this budget is not telling anything and not making any promises, so when they get to the committee level it should have a way of trying to amend this budget so that it would meet all the needs that the Nigerian women are still expecting and there are some agencies in the ministry that are just littered all around which are supposed to be under the ministry of women affairs, we are talking about refugees and also trafficked persons”

Also picking holes in the budget estimates, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP Imo East), said the budget is nothing but a walking corpse going by its deficiencies in projections and allocations.

He said though change is good but it was dynamic and going by the outlook of the budget, is a change in the negative direction.

He specifically kicked against the over N2trillion deficit the budget is woven around with attendant projections for massive borrowings in financing it.

He therefore called for downward review of the entire budget profile.

But the Deputy Chief Whip, Francis Alimekhena ( APC Edo North), in his own submission, described the budget as a budget of hope.

According to him, the downward trend in the price of oil in the international market would not affect the budget’s estimates as projected since there were other alternatives to be made, in raising revenues for its funding.

He suggested that every international call should be taxed as part of ways of raising revenues for the budget, saying ” the budget, as a budget of hope, would surely kick start, the practical transformation of Nigeria for better.

Meanwhile, debate on general principles of the budget will ends Tuesday and possibly pass for second reading as announced Monday, by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

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