2022 Budget: Be Prepared for Worst Times, Frank Tells Nigerians

By Udora Orizu

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Timi Frank, has urged Nigerian masses to prepare for worst times ahead.

Frank, who is the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East, said his fear was predicated on the “2022 Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability” presented last Thursday before a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammdu Buhari.

According to him, since the purchasing power of the average Nigerian has been inexorably eroded by rising cost of goods and services, coupled with expected increases in the pump price of petrol, electricity tariffs and introduction of new taxes, the people must of necessity tighten their belts to survive the economic tsunami ahead.

Frank, in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, berated President Buhari for presenting a budget he knows will bring more hardship to them than succour.

He said: “Buhari stated that his regime is targeting N17.70 trillion as total federally-collectible revenue for 2022. Yet, he plans to finance the 2022 Budget Deficit of N6.26trillion through borrowing thereby pushing up the nation’s debt.”

The activist lamented that since Buhari took over in 2015, annual budget performance has remained below 30 per cent.

Frank insisted that Buhari’s plan to seek further amendments to the Finance Act 2020, is meant to lay additional financial burden on the shoulders of Nigerians.

“This invariably means, among others, that some present taxes will either be reviewed upwards or new ones introduced,” he stated.

He recalled that based on the law, which became fully operational on January 1, 2021, Value Added Tax (VAT) was increased from 5% to 7.5%, while Nigerians are now being charged N50 levy on every electronic money transfer deposited in any bank or financial institution, on any account, on the sum of N10,000 and above.

According to him, this levy is in addition to other charges like short message service (SMS), account maintenance, etc, which Nigerians are already being made to pay by commercial banks.

The former APC spokesman also said that a new way to further plunder the downtrodden Nigerians by Buhari is the planned reintroduction of tollgates on federal highways in the country.

He said when the scheme becomes operational, according to the federal government, motorists will be made to pay N200, N500, and N1,000 respectively depending on the type of vehicle.

Frank insisted that the National Assembly had hurriedly approved the passage of the PIA, in the interest of Buhari and not for the benefit of Nigerians.

He said: “The rubber stamp National Assembly hurriedly passed the Petroleum Industry Act, not because they love Nigeria but because Buhari and his cronies want to perpetually be in charge of the incorporated entities.”

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