By Oduyemi Odumade
Following the outcry generated over the allocation of N5.095 billion for the purchase of a presidential yacht in the 2023 supplementary budget, the House of Representatives, has scrapped the budgetary allocation for the project.
Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Abubakar Bichi, who disclosed this in an interview with journalists said the budgetary allocation for student loan was also increased from five billion to N10bn.
He said the committee also increased budgetary allocation of the ministry of Defence from 476bn to 546bn following security concerns.
Bichi also disclosed that the minimum wage for workers was considered and approved for onward transmission to the executive while promising proper legislative oversight to ensure 100 percent implementation.
In the supplementary budget sent to the national assembly by the president, the federal government allocated N5 billion to purchase a presidential yacht.
The proposed sum was under the capital expenditure of the Nigerian Navy’s budget.
According to the breakdown, the Navy will require N62.8 billion for its operations, with recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure gulping N20.4 billion and N42.3 billion, respectively
But Bichi said the Five billion naira for the Presidential yacht has been yanked off from the budget.
He said: “Actually We have submitted our reports to the House and after a careful consideration, the House has approved our submissions and the breakdown is as follows.
“As you know, the budget is about N2.1tn and the ministry of defence has about N456bn but currently the ministry of defence has the largest share because we know how important our security is. As you are aware, we had interaction with them yesterday. Currently, we have increased their budget from N456bn to N546, 209,099,671 billion.
“For Police formations and commands, we gave them N50bn while the FCT has about N100bn. You know FCT is very important to us, so we want to make sure that FCT can compete with any state in the world. That is why we gave them N100bn.
“On the office of the National Security Advisor, their initial budget was N27bn but currently we have increased their budget to N50bn. For the state house, their initial budget was N28bn and we maintained that.
“On ministry of Agriculture and food security, you know how important that ministry is, we maintained their initial figure of N200bn as well. For ministry of housing, you know we have serious housing deficit in the country and Mr. President’s agenda, he wants to build as much as he can, so we have approved N100bn for housing.
“Service wide votes initially was N615 but currently we reduced it to N515bn.
“For INEC, initially their budget was N18bn, and yesterday we had an interaction with the INEC Chairman and he convinced us with his submissions and we maintained their N18bn.
“So far, we have approved N2,176, 791, 286, 33 trillion. We will continue to support the goverment so we can deliver democracy.
He assured that lawmakers would ensure adequate oversight over the way the funds are spent, to ensure the money are used judiciously.
“From now to three months we are going to call them and ask them what they have done with the money”.
Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Bukky Alabi
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