The Minister of Solid Minerals and a former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said the N6.08tn 2016 budget proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari is realisable.
The minister also said the budget was not bogus despite the dwindling revenues from crude oil.
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, while criticising the budget, had said that, “It is only in a confused and clueless economy that government will plan to spend more when revenue has reduced by more than 50 per cent.”
But speaking in Isan Ekiti on Sunday during a thanksgiving ceremony marking his ministerial appointment, Fayemi said there was no amount budgeted to develop a vast country like Nigeria that was too much.
He lamented the neglect of the solid minerals sector since independence, saying the sector had the capacity to turn around the country’s economy, considering its local consumption by industries and export benefits.
He argued that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing that received a staggering sum of N433bn largest share in the 2016 budget could still not boast that the amount would be more than enough to turn around the infrastructural facilities across the nation.
He said, “The former governor of Lagos State who superintends over the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing with about N433bn budgetary provision cannot say the amount is enough to turn around the facilities of this country if you look at what was involved.
“The Lagos-Ibadan expressway alone will gulp a sum of N250bn while the remaining amount may go with the second Niger bridge, so no minister can say the amount budgeted is more than enough.”
Fayemi assured Nigerians that the budget was targeted at improving their lives, promising that it would be pursued with passion to realise its goals.
“The budget presented by President Buhari has a focus and the focus is to improve on the well-being of Nigerians and to improve on the infrastructural facilities across the nation.
“So, what we need now is to prove our mettle by being innovative and be creative. We need to work very hard to actualise the focus of this budget and this will only be measured by the level of impact we are able to make on the Nigerian masses.”
Fayemi maintained that Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in cement production was enough to prove that the country was richly blessed.