NASS vs PMB: Details of N578bn projects inserted into 2018 budget emerge

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A breakdown of additions the National Assembly made to the 2018 budget has emerged.

The lawmakers had inserted 6,403 projects valued at N578.31bn.

According to Budget Office documents, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing had the highest number of projects inserted into its budget, with 996 projects valued at N121.88bn.

Ministry of Water Resources had 1,151 projects worth N61.85bn while Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Ministry of Education had 459 projects and 467 projects valued at N52.79bn and N48.8bn, respectively.

Also, nine projects worth N42.2bn were inserted into the budget of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. Ministry of Communication Technology had 78 projects insertion worth N3.9bn, while ministries of Defence and Environment has 19 projects and 147 projects valued at N12.5bn and N9.5bn, respectively.

Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA: Six projects worth N7.2bn were inserted into its budget; Foreign Affairs had 57 projects worth N8.29bn; Health had 885 projects worth N38.47bn; Information had 178 projects worth N8.9bn; Interior had 78 projects valued at N8bn; and Ministry of Labour and Employment had 226 projects, estimated at N13.02bn.

Mines and Steel with 34 projects worth N2.2bn; Niger Delta, 102 projects worth N5.72bn; Office of National Security Adviser had two projects worth N5.35bn, while the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation had 448 projects valued at N35.12bn.

Ministry of Science and Technology with 506 projects valued at N35.64bn; Trade and Investment had 334 projects worth N33.83bn; Ministry of Transportation had 23 projects valued at N10.9bn; Ministry of Women Affairs had 41 projects, estimated at N1.52bn; and Ministry of Youths and Sports had 67 projects worth N2.49bn inserted into its budget.

Buhari on June 20 signed the budget worth N9.1tn made up of N2.87tn for capital expenditure, N3.51tn for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure and N2.01tn projected for debt servicing.

But the president, in his speech, complained of the insertions.

He said, “The logic behind the Constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.

“Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.

“Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.

“Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

“As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.

”Such examples of projects from which cuts were made are as follows: The provisions for some nationally/regionally strategic infrastructure projects such as Counter-part funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project were cut by an aggregate of 11.5 billion Naira.

“Similarly, provisions for some ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the FCT, Abuja especially major arterial roads and the mass transit rail project, were cut by a total of 7.5 billion Naira.

“The provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was cut by 3.9 billion Naira from 4 billion Naira to 100 million Naira.

“The above will make it impossible for the Federal Government of Nigeria to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on this project.

“The provisions for various Strategic Interventions in the health sector such as the upgrade of some tertiary health institutions, transport and storage of vaccines through the cold chain supply system, provision of anti-retroviral drugs for persons on treatment, establishment of chemotherapy centres and procurement of dialysis consumables were cut by an aggregate amount of 7.45 billion Naira.

“The provision for security infrastructure in the 104 Unity Schools across the country were cut by 3 billion Naira at a time when securing our students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.

“The provision for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme was cut by 8.7 billion Naira.

“At a time when we are working with Labour to address compensation-related issues, a total of 5 billion Naira was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.”

Responding, the National Assembly, at a joint briefing, explained why the adjustments were carried out.

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