NASS Should Stop Playing Politics With Budget – Bayewu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NASS Should Stop Playing Politics With Budget – Bayewu

Posted: Feb 29, 2016 at 6:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Kamal  Ayinde  Bayewu, a fellow of the Chartered  Institute of  Bankers was  an aspirant  for Lagos  West  Senatorial District during the last general election.  In this interview with Temidayo Akinsuyi,  he speaks on the state of the nation and the chances of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming local government elections in the state. Excerpts:


 Looking at the state of the nation, can you really say that Nigerians are getting the desired change promised by your party, the APC during the last general elections?


Yes, we are getting the desired change promised by APC and President Muhammadu Buhari. It may be slow, it may be tortuous, but we are on the right course. Nigeria is like a building that is structurally defective and needed to be restructured and rehabilitated to come out better. In due course, all the changes will begin to manifest positively. A lot of patience is required and full cooperation with our governments at all levels so they can deliver on these promises.


Given the free fall of our currency in recent times, there have been controversy over whether the Naira should be further devalued or not. The president has kicked against devaluation. As a financial expert, are you in support of the devaluation of the naira? What can we do to make the naira stronger?

No,  I do not support devaluation of the Naira because we do not have exportable goods and services to support it.  Even where the goods are available, we are not the price determinants of those products. Devaluing the Naira will only be to the benefit of few. Therefore, we must look inwards to shore up the value of the Naira by cutting down on our excesses and reducing our taste for ostentatious goods and services. Local production must be encouraged by consuming local products such that few dollars available will be equitably distributed along the essential needs of our economy.



 The Senate has ordered the Federal Government through the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to reverse the recent increase in electricity tariff.   Do you think the increase in electricity tariff at this period is justified?

Increase in electricity tariff is not justifiable now until there is a corresponding improvement on the services rendered. Since the DISCOS took over, consumers have not enjoyed improved services, why then the increase? Are the consumers to pay for the inefficiency of a privatised organisation? Was that not the reason for privatisation in the first place? We still have a situation where government and consumers intervene by providing transformers and other equipment needed for proper generation of electricity. Increase in electricity tariff is not acceptable now until  all dwelling are provided with pre- paid meters and improved equipment are supplied for good services.



What do you make of the controversy surrounding  President  Buhari’s budget? The president has fired the Director- General of the Budget office but some Nigerians are saying that is not enough. What do you think should be done to avert a recurrence in the future?


Is it President Buhari’s budget or the Federal Government Budget? If it is the Federal Government’s budget, why the hues and cries about it?. The budget remains a budget, an estimates of the income and expenditure of the government. In the spirit of separation of powers as guaranteed in our constitution, the legislative arm of the government has the right to scrutinise, verify, adjust? and amend the budget before it is passed as an appropriation bill and becomes an act when it is assented to by Mr. President. The lawmakers should just go ahead and do the needful and stop playing politics with the budget.



Given his role in the $2.1b arms scandal , do you support the call for former  President Goodluck Jonathan’s invitation for questioning?

Not yet. Though as the head of government the bulk stopped at his table?, but he appointed some people to administer and execute on his behalf. If there is anything wrong, these people must be questioned first. If President Jonathan is now indicted, he should be invited for questioning. I have experienced where executive orders or approval were varied without the knowledge of the approving authority. For example, President Muhammadu Buhari has never heard of padded budget in all his public service life, if it was a criminal offence will the President be culpable for presenting a padded budget to the Joint House in the presence of the whole world. Therefore, we must thread softly.


You have been a strong advocate of cared for elderly ones in the society. What advice do you have for the federal government on how to care for these vulnerable ones?


That is very true. We are all aware of the immense contributions of our very senior citizens who gave all their productive and useful years to the service of their motherland. They are now at a vulnerable stage which requires urgent intervention through well-articulated policies and structures by government at all levels. Elderly people who have worked for the government collects pension, but what about those who have not worked for the government, they need to be protected in their old age. Something must be given to them to empower them, whether they have children or not. It is the duty of any responsible government to take care of the elderly ones in the society and not look at them as a burden. How many elderly homes do we have in Nigeria? That is exactly why the government must come up with a deliberate programme to be able to care of our elderly ones. During my tenure as the Executive Chairman of Ajeromi- Ifelodun Local Government, I started what was called ‘Old People’s Grant .’ Over 300 men and women of 70 years and above were given regular stipends of  N5,000 every month.  I started with 100 but by the time I was leaving office, we had over 300 elderly ones on the list. These ones were recognized as non-pensionable staff of the Local government. The money has nothing to do with tribe, religion or party affiliations. You are entitled to it as long as you fall into the stipulated age bracket. I think the federal government should look into this too.


You played a major role in the emergence of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode   You were very visible on his campaign team and once described him as ‘the best man to continue where Fashola stopped’. How will you rate his performance so far?


******Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is consolidating on the achievements of his predecessors and his performance is taking Lagos State to the next level. So far so good,  I will rate him high? and I am sure he has the capacity to deliver on all his promises to Lagosians.******  I will implore the good people of Lagos to cooperate with him through the fulfillment  of their civic responsibilities especially on the payment of taxes and obeying the laid down rules of the government.


You aspired to run for the Senate election in Lagos West, but were persuaded to step down for the incumbent senator. Do you think your people are getting adequate representation?


The people of Lagos West Senatorial District are getting a good representation in Senator Olamilekan Solomon Adeola . Though more still needed to be done but we’re not unmindful of the general happenings in the country.


Given the opportunity, will you run again in the future?

Given the opportunity I will still run. My desire has always been to be in the Senate where I will join hands with fellow lawmakers to make laws for the progress of Nigeria and the good people of Lagos West Senatorial District.  I believe whatever Allah decrees will surely come to pass. Don’t also forget, we also have leaders and elders in the party and I will abide by any decision taken by them. When they say move, I move and when they say stop, as a loyal party man, I have no option than to obey.


The local government in Lagos state will be coming up soon, do you think the PDP can pose a threat to APC’s chances in the state?


The minority will have their say but the majority will have their way. PDP will never be a threat to APC in the forth coming Local Government Elections in Lagos State.