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Senate c’ttee uncovers N10.8bn insertion in defence ministry’s budget

The Senate Committee on Defence yesterday uncovered N10.8bn insertion in the 2023 budget proposal of the Ministry of Defence.   The committee queried the minister, Bashir…

The Senate Committee on Defence yesterday uncovered N10.8bn insertion in the 2023 budget proposal of the Ministry of Defence.  

The committee queried the minister, Bashir Magashi, on the issue during the budget defence.

The vice chairman of the committee, Senator Istifanus Gyang, said: “Hon. Minister, in the proposed 2023 budget of your ministry, N8.6bn is discovered to have been allocated for purchase of military hardware and N2.25bn for Safe School Initiative.

“The two items, when critically viewed, were not supposed to be in the ministry’s budget since hardware procurements are done by the Army, Navy and Air Force; and the Safe School Initiative, by the Federal Ministry of Education. 

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“These, to us, are duplications of budgetary votes which require explanations from you,” he said. 

Responding, Magashi sought the permission of the committee for the permanent secretary of the ministry Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, to respond.

Kana said the sums were inserted into the ministry ‘s budget by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. 

“We didn’t initiate it. We didn’t include it. From our consultations, we found out that it’s from the finance ministry. 

“We found out that these projects have been with the Ministry of Education and they now realised that they should actually be under the Ministry of Defence because they’re products of insurgency and therefore the defence ministry is better positioned to do the job compared to the education ministry. I don’t think there’s any duplication,” he said. 

The committee’s chairman, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, said the insertion would be expunged from the ministry’s budget.