Through its Committee on Special Duties, the Senate has uncovered N206 billion inserted in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development budget on Monday.
The amount was discovered when the Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq, appeared before the Senate Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf-led Committee to defend the ministry’s 2023 budget proposal in Abuja.
At the Defence Session, trouble started when a member of the Committee, Senator Ishaku Cliff Abbo (APC, Adamawa North) asked the Minister about the N206 billion in the ministry’s budget. “What programmes do you implement in National Social Safety Nets?” Abbo asked.
“Few days ago, we had a course to summon the Minister of Finance when we were considering the Ministry of Health and Primary Health Care. We observed N301 billion was inserted in the budget of 2023, which will be funded through multilateral and bilateral loans.
We asked the Minster to give us the details of the activities and projects that will be implemented with this money, and he said he wasn’t the one that he was not the one that it was the Ministry of Finance.
In 2023, you intend to borrow N206 billion for this same project. What are the projects to be implemented in that. Is it captured in MTEF. If it is, are the specific project location activities attached to this,” the lawmaker queried.
In her response, the Minister told the committee that she did know how the N206 billion was inserted into her Ministry’s budget by the Ministry of Finance. She further claimed that the Ministry requested some projects for the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and National Social Safety Net Project in the 2022 budget, which was not released but was surprised to see the money in the Ministry’s 2023 Budget.
“Yes, we made mention of the projects for 2022, which was not released and part of it was part for the NEDC.
The money was not released, and now we have seen it recurring by almost ten folds. We are also going to clarify from the Ministry of Finance to know why this increase despite the fact that the previous year, the money was not even released for the project. So we will get the details then send to you on that,” Farouq stated.
Ojochenemi Onje-James is a research writer and journalist with years of proven footprints in areas of crime and politics. She has a M.Sc in International Relations and Strategic Studies as well as a B.Sc in Mass Communication.