The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its defeated presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar are well behind time in their call for a review of the 2020 budget in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also accused the former Vice-President of turning lying into an art form as exhibited in his latest attempt at obfuscation of facts, figures and history.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said Atiku’s call, several days after the Presidency had made that move, is a confirmation of what his former Principal once said about his poor judgement.
“How can one describe an opposition figure who in an attempt to paint the government bad, did not realise that President Muhammadu Buhari had since revised the budget in line with emerging economic realities?
“In his thinly veiled attack on the Nigerian Presidency, couched as an advisory to Africa nations, Alhaji Abubakar had claimed that the benchmark was ‘off the mark’, but since it appears he is just waking from his slumber, we are compelled to inform him that the government had approached the National Assembly to benchmark oil price for 2020 at US$30/barrel, and oil production at 1.7mbpd.
“This is aside from streamlining the budget to reflect a reduction in non-oil revenue projections, including various tax and customs receipts and even the privatisation of government-owned enterprises.
“Even a day before his latest vituperation was published, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmad had informed Nigerians that the Budget Office was working on a revised 2020 – 2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework / Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP), as well as an Amendment to the 2020 Appropriation Act.
“So, Atiku who sees himself as an economic expert is simply parroting what the Buhari administration was already doing, except that his strategists probably do not have access to Nigerian media which have been reporting series of meetings between the Executive and Legislature on the matter,” it added.
The group also questioned the former Vice-President’s understanding of the loan that Nigeria is seeking to act as a buffer against a possible economic downturn.
“Atiku had, in a haste to malign the government, noted that ‘no nation has $6.9bn to loan us’, but he missed the point as the finance minister actually had long clarified that Nigeria was simply drawing from its existing holdings with the World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund.
“We know the former VP has a problem with borrowings but we also want to remind him that if the previous PDP administration had invested loans adding up to more than $63billion in 2015 on critical and job-creating infrastructure, the Buhari government would have absolutely no need to borrow money at this time.
“We respect and trust President Buhari to apply and deploy funds borrowed to providing critical and job-creating infrastructure.
“And as for the debt repayment of the Obasanjo era that Atiku is always boasting about, let us remind him that the world witnessed a progressive rise in crude oil price from $12.42 a barrel in January 1999 to as high as $99 a barrel as at May 2007, but the current government inherited a prostrate economy in 2015 with crashed crude oil price and had been able to take the country out of a PDP inflicted recession in record time and facilitated the construction of legacy projects like the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail, the second Niger bridge and others”.
The group likened the former Vice President to a doomsday preacher who is always looking for any bad looking scenario to play politics in its darkest form, and urged Nigerians to be wary of him.
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