*Education, Health Projects found in Fashola’s Budget
OrderPaperToday – The inability of the National Assembly joint committee on appropriation to lay the 2016 budget report March 17 as promised has been traced partly to ‘fresh’ submissions made by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) after the initial budget defence before various standing committees.
It was also gathered that the numerous inconsistencies, padding of figures and untidiness in its preparation had given the national assembly more work to do on the budget than was envisaged initially. Findings by ORDERPAPER.NG showed that the appropriation committees will continue to rework those identified areas of the budget until next week when the final report has been promised to be laid for consideration by plenary of both chambers.
In Fashola’s Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, budget heads that should belong to other MDAs were identified apart from the fact that the projects and figures allocated to them lacked clear and convincing explanations.
For instance, the sum of N85,592,483 was proposed for the construction of 3 blocks of classrooms with no location indicated; N91,124,858 for the construction of maternity health centre in an unspecified location; completion of the construction of hospital at N40,181,895 and no location indicated; and the sum of N172,623,767 for skill acquisition centre in an unspecified place.
Also, the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), a parastatal under Fashola may also have some of its proposals considered ‘curious’ removed from the budget. Of particular note is N150million proposed for an undefined ‘Growing Girls and Women Project,’ a proposal described by a member of the committee who spoke to ORDERPAPER.NG under the condition of anonymity as ‘phoney and suspicious attempt to siphon public funds.’
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) which proposed the sum of N1.7billion for ‘kitting of armed forces personnel’ may also have a surgical operation performed on its budget before the committee report is laid next week.
It was also learnt that the national assembly having secured the consent of President Buhari, may tinker with what is considered ‘non-priority’ projects proposed for the presidential villa. These include a N3.9billion for routine maintenance by Julius Berger; N115,829,076 for ‘wildlife conservation;’ purchase of canteen/kitchen equipment at N89million; and payment of rent at N22,321,880.
The annually recurring budget heads of ‘rehabilitation/repairs of office/residential buildings and purchase of furniture/fittings’ by MDAs which is one of the much criticized aspect of the 2016 budget has also been a critical area of work in the ‘data cleansing’ exercise of the national assembly.
In this regard, the Ministry of Interior proposed N10.7billion; Transportation N1.39billion; Fashola’s Works, Power and Housing N1.7billion; and Lai Mohammed’s Ministry of Information and Culture N310,945,466. These monies are likely to be re-allocated to other areas of critical needs as relevant officials in the Executive continue their engagement with the appropriation committees.
It was also discovered that some MDAs engaged in duplication of projects. For instance, the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development under Mr. Kayode Fayemi proposed ‘purchase of field vehicles for monitoring illegal mining activities’ at the cost of N150million and another N284,971,668 for ‘procurement of project vehicles for inspectorate activities and staff buses.’
Some of these identified lapses have invariably necessitated fresh submissions from some MDA heads, including the Ministry of Health, Works, Power and Housing, according to our sources.