By Ignatius Okorocha
Unhappy with the rising unemployment level in the country,Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), yesterday, lamented that there was nothing on ground to show for the huge budgetary allocation made by the Federal Government for social interventions in the 2020 budget.
Ndume, who made the lamentation while speaking with journalists in Abuja, on the implementation of the 2020 budget, urged the youths and all the intended beneficiaries of the N700 billion social intervention funds injected in the budget, to hold government implementing agencies to account for the fund.
The lawmaker also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for showing interest in the welfare of the youths and other vulnerable in the society, saying that there had not been any other President who
gave so much attention to empowerment of youths and other vulnerable groups in the country.
He said: “the President has signed the 2021 budget and it contains a lot for the youths especially and the poor. But as observed in last year’s N13 trillion budget, which was the highest level of implementation so far, we cannot see it on ground.
“So, what I’m suggesting or what I’m urging the youth to do in particular, is to follow their money and ensure that the budget is not only implemented but that there is evidence on ground to show that it is actually implemented to the benefit of the people.
“I am saying this because government had recently announced over N700 billion for intervention in various sectors that is supposed to be targeted toward indigent Nigerians and the vulnerable but we are yet to see some of these actions on ground.
The President has done his bid by allocating such amount not only for the youths but even the farmers, traders; that’s why you can hear about trader money, you hear about N-Power, you hear about other huge investments.
The lawmaker argued that, since the President had demonstrated concerns for the plights of the people and introduced programmes to alleviate their hardship, the target beneficiaries should ensure that such programmes were duly implemented to their benefits.
“So, the President has done his bid by allocating huge sums of money. It is now left for the beneficiaries: the youths, the farmers, traders and entrepreneurs to follow their money and make sure that the budget is not only implemented but the impact of that budget should be felt.
“People should ask where is the money or the youths especially should follow their money to make sure that what they claim that they have done should be seen and the impact should be felt”, he stated.
Ndume further tasked the media and the civil society organisations to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act, and probe into the activities of relevant agencies of government, with a view to ensuring transparency and accountability in budget implementation.
“The media has a role to play. If an MDA is budgeted certain amount, using the Freedom of Information Act, you people should ask where is the money, what did they do with it. It is not only the responsibility of the National Assembly. The civil society organisations, the media and the people that are directly affected, like the N-power, should ask the question: where is it.
“Like the 774,000 jobs, you could see that they are busy everywhere in the local government. At least, you know 1000 people are engaged, you could see them working.
“Nigerians should demand for transparency, accountability and impactful implementation of the budget.
“The President has done his bid. I don’t think there has ever been president that has given so much attention to issues of youth empowerment, empowering the poor in this country like the government of President Muhammadu Buhari”, he noted.