Hon. Dayo Saka-Fafunmi, a lawmaker in the Lagos state House of Assembly has said that the economic situation and the falling price of crude oil is the reason President Muhammadu Buhari cannot pay the N5, 000 he promised unemployed youths.
In an interview with Naij, the lawmaker representing Ifako-Ijaye consistency 1 applauded the president for coming out to tell Nigerians the truth.
“The president has been honourable enough to come out to tell Nigerians that he could no longer fulfil one of the promises he earlier made. I strongly want to commend his ability not to dance around the fact that the economy is in shambles and that it is in a state that requires all hands to be on deck. As at the time the president made the proposal, we were not too sure of the figure of the nation’s finances, as that then, the price of crude oil was between $60 and $80 per barrel. But today, the same crude is about $20 something per barrel. Obviously, when you have this coming to your revenue, it would automatically affect your expenditure. In a way, you have to adjust your expenditure to meet your revenue.
“There is no doubting the fact that if the money is paid for a month, how would it be sustained giving such a scenario. What is the effect of giving such free money to the economy? So, when you look at all these indices, it is better such money is channelled towards profitable ventures. Instead of dashing people money, why not spending such money to grow your agriculture. Combine the money to build industries around your natural resources. If you build industries around gold, for instance, it would be better, there are some nations that survive on gold alone. We have gold, we have coal, and we have so many things in Nigeria. So instead of giving N5,000 each to the unemployed, which is not sustainable, if we channel all these resources to help the unemployed, it would be better. It is better to garner the statistics to see how they can be helped, some people will go to agriculture, and some would go to other sectors. Let them engage them in productive activities, let them work and earn money rather than waiting to get N5,000 each from the Federal Government, which would not help them in anyway, when it comes.”
The lawmaker who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) denied that the party made the promise to deceive the voters.
“I do not see the statement as being a deceit. You can only call it a deception if Nigeria is healthy enough to accommodate this money and they are refusing to pay. When the present government came on board, they thought there was money in the external reserve only for them to discover that it has been looted. Ordinarily, we were expected to have money in our Sovereign Wealth Account (SWA), which is a means through which your budgetary provision is fulfilled, when there is no money. But the SWA has been looted.
“The money that was repatriated during the tenure of former president Goodluck Jonathan has been looted. It is a very unhealthy situation in the country; people did not vote the APC for high dollar rates and stuffs like that. It is a reflection of the economy; the exchange rate is a reflection of what is happening in your country. So, if we are not producing anything and you keep importing, you will always have problems. When the demand is more than supply, the price would go up, that is what is happening. It was when the price of oil was high that the federal government had excess dollars, they were still using them to stabilise, but now it is bad.
“I like what the current president is doing and you can see that dollar is crashing because the economy of the United States of America is not stable. So, it is a global thing, I want to say that the man has demonstrated enough courage to say that such promises are no longer visible. Nigerians should praise him for coming out to tell them the truth. He could have danced around it and say he would put it in the budget and at the end of the day, it would not perform. He would tell you that it couldn’t perform because he could not get the resources he was expecting. He can dance around it throughout the year. I like the pres