The National Assembly on Friday listed and justified 24 new project it added to the recently passed 2018 budget.
Aliyu Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, and Abdulrazak Namdas, his House of Representatives counterpart, addressed a joint press briefing at the National Assembly in Abuja on Friday to give the lawmakers position on the document.
They said the additions were made to the budget due to the increase in the benchmark price of oil “after full consultations, and in many cases, requests by the Executive branch through the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.”
The adjustments are:
1. Augmentation to unity schools meal subsidy – N3,701,587,104.
2. Outstanding liability on exchange rate differential for 2015 & 2016 Bea ongoing remittances to 12 Bea countries (scholarship) – N3,265,720,064.
3. Rehabilitation of block C, D, G & H at the Headquarters and Lagos State office of Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade & Investment – N1,207,942,115.
4. Construction of Kashimbilla/Gamovo multipurpose dam -N 2,000,000,000.
5. Strengthening public health against LASSA fever/other outbreaks: procurement and installation of incinerators, procurement of personal protective equipment, ribavirin and laboratory reagents and training of health personnel, construction of isolation ward at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada – N2,000,000,000.
6 Fast Power Programme Accelerated Gas and Solar Power Generation – N12,500,000,000.
7. Expansion and reinforcement of infrastructure in 11 distribution companies to reduce stranded generation capacity – N30,000,000,000.
8. Alternative energy development fund – N1,000,000,000.
9. Completion of headquarters building Federal Ministry of Women Affairs – N500,000,000.
10. Construction of 3000 capacity maximum security prison in Abuja (Phase I) – N6,031,862,972.
11. Procurement of 3 x JF17 Thunder aircraft – N12,792,939,682.
12. Security vote (including augmentation of shortfall in operational funds) for Nigerian Navy – N3,000,000,000.
13. Department of State Security – Pensions (including arrears) – N6,318,326,710.
14. Contributions to international organisations – N11,000,000,000.
15. Contingency -N2,800,000,000.
16. Military operation: Lafiya Dole & other operations of the armed forces – N3,000,000,000.
17. Subscription to shares in international organisations – N11,000,000,000.
18. SDG special projects – N38,000,000,000.
19. Contingency (capital) – N2,000,000,000.
20. Promotion, recruitment and appointment for Police Service Commission – N5,393,947,080.
21. Additional provision to some security agencies – N10,000,000,000.
22. Additional provision of N82billion on critical federal roads e.g. rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano N10billion, rehabilitation of Lagos-Badagry-Seme road N4billion, rehabilitation/dualisation of Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene-Aba-Owerri Road N7billion – N92,000,000,000.
23. Additional funds to new federal universities – N12,000,000,000.
24. National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) – N4,000,000,000.
TOTAL N245 billion (N245,512,325,726).
Mr Abdullahi who read out part of the statement said the National Assembly should be commended to the degree that most of the human development projects were captured in the budget by the legislature.
He also noted that due to the back and forth experienced by the legislature in the past, the improvement of the budgetary process should be a higher priority than trading blames.
“This trading of blames and unnecessary scapegoating is not healthy — as it creates needless conflict between the two arms of government,” he said.
He called Mr Buhari to present the borrowing plan to the National Assembly for approval in order to ensure that all capital projects in the budget receive their necessary financing.
He also urged all Executive appointees to ensure that they brief the president with the truth and facts of their engagement, to promote healthy and harmonious relationships between the Executive and the Legislature.
The National Assembly denied the accusations of insertion of strange and frivolous items into the 2018 budget proposal.
It said cuts made in the budget were done in good faith to ensure adherence to the principle of federal character and that the stated figures of the reductions made were unduly exaggerated.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday, signed the budget into law.
After signing the budget, Mr Buhari accused the National Assembly of distorting the spending plan and increasing their own budget.
According to him, the lawmakers effected cuts amounting to N347 billion in allocations to 4,700 projects and introduced fresh 6,403 projects of their own valued at about N578 billion.