The House of Representatives Committee on Navy on Monday approved the budget estimate of N25.8 billion for the Nigerian Navy in the 2022 financial year.
Chairman of the committee, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, adopted the budget after members of the committee unanimously okayed the document upon the presentation made by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo.
The Naval chief told the committee the Nigerian Navy had earlier proposed N220 billion for the 2022 fiscal year to equip her to adequately tackle rising security issues in the country but was slashed to N25.8 billion by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning.
He identified challenges facing the Nigerian Navy to include inadequate arms and ammunitions; inadequate jetties, obsolete equipment and shortage of barracks, among others.
The Naval chief lamented that the N14.2 billion earmarked for the Navy as Overhead in the 2022 budget was inadequate, especially in respect of its needs in the aspects of acquisitions of more platforms and equipment needed in addressing security challenges in the maritime sector.
He said the Nigerian Navy has been doing a lot in tackling the menace of oil bunkering, sea piracy and other emerging security challenges in the maritime sector.
Speaking earlier, the chairman of the committee commended the Nigerian Navy for its performance over the last year despite inadequate appropriation in the 2021 fiscal year.
He said the Committee observed that; “the air of relief in terms of the administrative prowess and strategic vision as well as the open-door policy brought to bear in the Navy by the Chief of the Naval Staff has engendered effectiveness of Officers and Ratings in the discharge of their duties.”
Concerns over the delays
He however raised concerns over delay in the completion of some capital projects of the Nigerian Navy by contractors handling them, with some of the projects spanning to three years.
He said the: “Committee observed with pessimistic views the spilt over projects (against agreed timelines) by some contractors including some that spanned beyond 3 years period without any signs of completion, hand over to the Navy or concrete Work-In-Progress.
“Henceforth, the House of Representatives and the National Assembly will not hesitate to call to order any MDA and in this case the Nigerian Navy where it fails to checkmate any erring contractor whose stock in trade is to waste taxpayers monies by taking for granted the delivery of public goods and services within specified timeframe and quality of job(s).
“Therefore, this session of Budget defence must be seen as a means to an end; it should be seen as an opportunity for the Navy to lay before this Committee its succinct major performances for the year 2020/2021 and to lay its array of planned projections for 2022”, he said.
“Where necessary, and in line with what the Committee saw on the ground, it will certainly recommend for increased budgetary allocations to the Navy.”