The Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has called for reduction in the cost of governance to address the economic challenges confronting the country.
Kalu said this in a statement in reaction to the N20.5 trillion budget proposal presented to the National Assembly.
It was presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Expressing concern that the country is undergoing some economic challenges due to low productivity, Kalu said more resources and commitment should be directed to improving productivity.
He said the only way out of borrowing is by boosting the manufacturing sector and increasing productivity.
Kalu said: “I am not saying I am in love with this budget.
“I am not saying I am dissatisfied with the budget, but I am saying there are areas the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation need to look into.
“We should be able to look into this yearly reoccurrence.
“I used to ask my colleagues: Does it mean that civil servants are the people buying the same stationery, same furniture and same equipment every year?”
While describing the cost of governance as huge, the former governor of Abia State suggested it be reduced and part of it channeled to manufacturing.
Kalu said: “The cost of governance is too heavy and should be channeled into the manufacturing sector and into productivity sector.
“We are not producing anything.
“We are just a consuming nation.”
He also urged the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation to scrutinise the budget thoroughly with a view to identifying any irregularity.
He said: “What I have seen in this budget is what I saw last year in the same budget, and it is not going to be good for us if we continue recycling what we have.”
He emphasised the need for the country to go back to agriculture as a means of diversifying the economy.
Kalu said that the country should place great emphasis on agriculture so that it would come out of the present situation.
Kalu further expressed concern that the security situation in some parts of the country was affecting production.
According to him, there are security challenges in the North East, South West, South East and other parts of the country.
Kalu said the situation needed to be addressed urgently as farmers are not going to farm and there is low productivity.
He said: “The industry capacities are down; industries are not manufacturing as capacity has gone far below 6 per cent.
“I have two industries in Lagos, they are closed down, they are not doing anything.
“The answer to not doing anything is borrowing, unless we start producing.”