The Appropriations Committee chairman said the supplementary budget is structured to improve security, food security, critical road infrastructure, workers’ wages and also cater to the upcoming off-cycle elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo States.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari has said that N9.1 billion of the N200 billion allocated to the Ministry in the proposed supplementary budget is to tackle transboundary migratory pests like locusts amongst others to address food insecurity in the country.
The Minister also said that for the 2024 rainy season, N11.7 billion is earmarked for each of the six zones of the country for agricultural development.
Kyari disclosed this on Wednesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Chaired by Rep. Abubakar Bichi (APC, Kano) to defend the 2023 supplementary budget.
He also said “Food security is top on the agenda of President Bola Tinubu. Food security is part of national security and for this reason, we had a challenge of anthrax. We have a disease that has threatened some states and if care is not taken it can wipe out livestock and it can be transferred to humans.
“It must be taken care of. And we also have transboundary migratory pests like locusts. So, we have budgeted N9.1 billion for that purpose. In addition, there is the issue of the strategic food reserve. So N25.5 billion has been earmarked.
“Also the provision of seeds and seedlings and other agricultural inputs for each zone of the country to the tune of N11.7 billion per zone. The National Agricultural Growth Scheme earmarked support for this at N25 billion,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said the N18 billion allocated to the Commission in the supplementary budget is not mainly for the conduct of elections.
Prof. Yakubu said a substantial amount of the allocation was for personnel costs, adding that there are budgetary provisions for the conduct of unforeseen and unbudgeted bye-elections hence, it has not attended to the five vacancies in the House and four in State Houses of Assembly.
“So we have to make provisions for the conduct of by-election in 11 constituencies – 5 federal constituencies, four state constituencies, and two senatorial districts. For that, we have appropriated N1.6 billion.
“This is a 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 there will be no by-election again so that we just confine ourselves to the 11,” Yakubu submitted.
In his submission, the Minister of Works, David Umahi, said the N300 billion proposal by the Ministry in the supplementary budget became necessary to restore some of the funds removed from the 2022 supplementary appropriation.
Umahi said the request for additional funds is for project completion and to provide emergency repair works on failed sections of the road in the Federal Capital.
“The 2023 supplementary budget proposal, the sum of N300 billion is proposed for the Ministry of Works and is targeted especially to the highway sectors. This is to create an environment for the free flow of traffic on the federal road network to enhance movement es, especially as yuletide approaches.
“The breakdown of the proposal is as follows. Ongoing projects including the ones removed in the 2022 supplementary appropriation is premised to take N197, 276, 594, 011. We have through the motion of the NASS for interventions over a number of emergencies on our roads, prepared a total intervention on 260 projects totaling 17 billion.”
Umahi also explained that N18.6 trillion is required to address the road sector in the next four years and urged the National Assembly to take steps towards addressing the problem.
He also stressed that for the executive to respect the legislature’s resolutions on certain interventions, it must have a contingency fund.
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On his part, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Nyesom Wike, explained that out of N100 billion allocated to the Territory, N3.4 billion is proposed for buying vehicles for the security agencies as all of them have complained of lack of vehicles and logistics.
“Insecurity has been a problem of FCT even before I came on board. And so, we felt that we should be able to tackle it head-on by providing logistics to various security agencies.
“Of course, there is infrastructure needed, which was abandoned before I came. But they need to be completed now that the dry season is coming. For example, B6, B12. When I came on board, I had to make these contractors like Julius Berger… all of them go back .
“Again, talking about the completion and taking off Abuja rail project, you would agree with me that this is one project that Mr. President takes so important and which will help in decongesting our traffic situation.
“As I came on board and Mr. President directed the day the Nigerian Bar Association held their conference that he wants to ride on this metro line at least in his one year in office, it’s a major if we can achieve it, and which we think with your support we are going to achieve it,” he said.
Earlier, the Appropriation Committee Chairman, Rep. Bichi explained that the 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, 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.
“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,” Bichi informed.