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Reps meet Ministers, others over N2.177trn supplementary budget

Some of the members of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s cabinet and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, defended…

Some of the members of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s cabinet and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, defended the N2.177 trillion supplementary budget before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation.

Speaking during the budget defence, the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abubakar Bichi (APC-Kano), explained that the N2,176,791,286,033 Supplementary Appropriation Bill sent to the National Assembly earlier this week was “specifically structured to improve the country’s security, food security, and critical road infrastructure sectors and to bridge the housing deficit in the country, including slum upgrades and urban renewal.

“It will also support the provisional wage to workers and cash transfers to vulnerable Nigerians. It will also cater to the upcoming off-cycle elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo States.

According to him, out of the sum of 476,543,847,421 proposed for the Ministry of Defence, the sum of N215,937,945,659 is for recurrent expenditure while the sum of N260,605,901,762 is for capital expenditure.

Out of the total sum of N200 billion proposed for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the sum of N104.800 billion is for recurrent expenditure while the sum of N95.200 billion is for capital expenditure.

From the sum of N50 billion proposed for Police Formations and Commands, the sum of N29,661,660,269 is for recurrent expenditure while the sum of N20,338,339,731 is for capital expenditure.

Out of the total sum of N29,700,606,916 proposed for the office of National Security Adviser, the sum of N27,402,410,057 is for recurrent expenditure while the sum of N2,298,196,859 is for capital expenditure.

The sum of N100 billion was also proposed for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT); N49,046,831,697 is for Department of State Services (DSS); N28 billion is for State House; N300 billion is for Federal Ministry of Works; N100 billion is for Federal Ministry of Housing; N615 billion is for Service Wide Vote; N210.500 is for Capital supplementation; while the sum of N18 billion is for Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

“We have invited the relevant MDAs to defend and shed more light on their submissions. At the end of the hearing, we will collate our analysis in a report and send it back to the House.

“I have divided this into two sections – We will start with the Non-security agencies, and later, we will go into an executive section for the Security Agencies,” Hon. Bichi said.

In his address, Chairman, House Committee on FCT, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, observed that out of the total sum of N300 billion requested by the FCT administration, only N100 billion request was sent by the Executive for the approval of the Legislature.

He however assured that the balance of N200 billion will be captured and considered during the 2024 budget defence.

On his part, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu noted that: “Not many people in Nigeria will believe that within four months after the inauguration of the national and state assemblies 11 vacancies have occurred. 11 by-elections in four months. Unfortunately, the majority come from the House of Representatives.

“There are five vacancies in the House of Representatives. Two were caused by death and three were caused by the resignation of honourable members. We have vacancies in four state constituencies across the country and we have vacancies in two senatorial districts.

“And each time we conduct three senatorial by-elections it’s like conducting a governorship election because each state in Nigeria has only three senatorial districts. So we have to make provisions for the conduct of by-elections in 11 constituencies – five federal constituencies, four state constituencies and two senatorial districts and for that we have an appropriation for N1.6 billion.

“This is in the summary of the breakdown for the N18 billion for personnel emolument and overhead for augmentation for the conduct of the three off-cycle governorship elections and for the conduct of 11 by-elections hoping that and praying that there will be no by-election again so that we just confine ourselves to the 11,” the INEC Chairman explained.

Other Ministers who appeared before the Committee on Appropriation are Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi; Minister of Defence, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru; Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Alhaji Abubakar Kyari; Director of Department of State Service, Yusuf Bichi, FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike; all the Service Chiefs, among others.

Meanwhile, the Committee on Appropriation is expected to lay the report of the budget defence before the House on Thursday for final passage into law.

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