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Reps throw out N5bn yacht after outrage, jack up students’ loan to N10bn

The House of Representatives has yanked off the budgetary allocation of N5.09 billion for purchase of a presidential yacht in the N2.176trn supplementary budget submitted…

The House of Representatives has yanked off the budgetary allocation of N5.09 billion for purchase of a presidential yacht in the N2.176trn supplementary budget submitted to the lawmakers.

The House, instead, moved the proposed sum to students’ loan thereby increasing allocation for students’ loan to 10bn as against 5. 5bn earlier provided in the supplementary budget.

Daily Trust reports that the action of the lawmakers followed the public outcry that trailed the provision made a presidential yacht amidst the hardship Nigerians are facing following the removal of fuel subsidy and other policies by the current administration.

Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Abubakar Bichi Abubakar (APC, Kano) made this known while addressing newsmen after the passage of the N2.176 trillion supplementary budget.

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He said the need became necessary following low budgetary allocation for students.

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.

Daily Trust reports that in the supplementary budget sent to the National Assembly by the president, the federal government allocated N5.09 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.

On the presidential yacht, Bichi said, “Actually, as far as we are concerned, we don’t have that anymore. We have increased the student loan. Initially, the student loan was N5bn in the budget but we have increased it to N5bn so that our students can access that facility in order for them to go to school. We don’t have the yacht anymore in budget.

“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 an interaction with them yesterday. Currently, we have increased their budget from N456bn to N546, 209,099,671 billion.

“For Police formations and command, 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 National Security, 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.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, you know how important that ministry is, we maintained their initial figure of N200bn as well. For the Ministry of Housing, you know we have a 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 government so we can deliver democracy.

He assured that lawmakers would ensure adequate oversight over the way the funds are spent, adding that, “Our members, especially those standing committees oversight those projects and ensure the money is used judiciously. From now to three months, we are going to call them and ask them what they have done with the money.”

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