Jonathan sends third 2013 budget amendment to lawmakers

President Goodluck Jonathan

The president contested cuts made to various allocations.

President Goodluck Jonathan has sent a third amendment to the 2013 budget to the Senate, indicating proposed changes across select expenditure categories.

In a letter dated June 26, the president urged the lawmakers to restore allocations to some capital projects earlier sliced by the National Assembly so as to promote national development.

Under the Ministry of Works, the president listed allocations for the construction of the Abuja-Lokoja Road, which was reduced by N4 billion; Kano-Maiduguri Road, reduced by N3.5 billion; dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Section 2, reduced by N5.5 billion; rehabilitation of Jebba Bridge reduced by N1 billion; Special Intervention Fund for Emergency roads and bridges across the country, reduced by N6.28 billion and; dualisation of Obajana Junction to Benin Road, reduced by N4 billion.

Other categories include those in the Ministry of Health: MDG HIV/AIDS ARV drugs allocation, reduced by N1 billion; Routine Immunisation Vaccines, reduced by N1.75 billion; malaria programme- procurement and distribution of insecticides, reduced by N800 million; payment of pledge for onchocerciasis re-certification, cut by N120 million and; National Trauma Centre, Abuja, reduced by N0.1 billion.

Under allocations for the Ministry of Power, a total of N16.3 billion was cut from power projects, including the 215MW Kaduna Dual Fired Power Plant, which was reduced by N2.25 billion; second Kaduna-Kano 33KV DC Lines, reduced by N1.5 billion; Gombe-Yola-Jalingo 330KV SC Line, reduced by N0.6 billion; Maiduguri 330/132KV Sub-station, reduced by N0.3billion; Kaduna-Jos 330KV DC Line, reduced by N0.5 billion and; Omotosho-Epe-Ajah 330KV DC line reduced by N0.8 billion.

For the allocations for the Ministry of Transport: construction of Abuja-Kaduna Rail cut by N1.4 billion; Jebba-Kano rail line rehabilitation, reduced by N500 million; procurement and rehabilitation of wagons/locomotives, reduced by N1 billion; insurance of locomotives, reduced by N200 million.

For the Ministry of Education, allocations to various projects were reduced to N5.64 billion, including the National Library Project, which was cut by N2 billion.

Allocation to the Community Services, Women and Youths Employment Programme under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, was reduced from N27 billion N9 billion.

Mr. Jonathan reminded the Senate that the personnel cost was cut across all ministries, departments and agencies, adding that if these were not restored, it would make it difficult to meet government’s obligations to its workers and maintain “industrial harmony”.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had last Monday, warned that the Federal Government may run into difficulties fulfilling its obligations to Nigerians, particularly payment of salaries to workers and completion of key projects contained in the approved budget, if the lawmakers do not immediately restore about N32 billion cut from different categories of the budget.

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