The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Aliyu Isah Pantami has disclosed that, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contributed 17.83 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2020.
He disclosed this while presenting the ministry’s 2021 budget proposal and the 2020 budget performance before the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Communications and ICT on Monday.
He said the contribution was an increase from 13% recorded within the same period in 2019.
However, members of the joint committee questioned the sharp increase of N21.9 billion in the 2021 budget proposal of the ministry above the 2020 budget.
They also asked the minister to explain why monies released to the Ministry in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020 were higher than the actual approval given to the Ministry.
The lawmakers also asked the minister why the Ministry proposed about 76 new projects in the 2021 budget when several projects of the Ministry are still ongoing.
The Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, Rep. Akeem Adeyemi specifically said the minister should explain the noticeable disparities between what was approved for the Ministry in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020 and what was released with the releases higher than what was approved.
“Can the Honourable Minister guarantee this Joint Committee that projects in these categories would be executed before the expiration of the current fiscal year?” he asked.
On the 2021 budget estimate of the Ministry, he demanded justification for the increase of N21.9 billion between the total budget proposal for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years.
According to him, N39.3bn was proposed for 2021 which is N21.9bn higher than the total approval of N17.4bn for 2020.
“what is responsible for this sharp increase, especially when the total Capital allocation in 2021 for the Ministry alone represents 70% of the Capital allocation for the entire Communications Sector?.”
The minister said, the variation and why the amount is higher than the previous year, is to accommodate the proposal of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
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