Ministry accuses Buhari’s finance minister of padding 2023 budget

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has been accused of paddling the proposed 2023 budget of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management with N206 billion.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Sadiya Umar Farouq made the allegations when she appeared to defend her ministry’s budget before the Senate Committee on Special Duties, on Monday, November 21.

Farouq said she was unaware of how the extra N206 billion found its way into her ministry’s budget when she was queried by the Senator representing Adamawa North, Elisha Abbo.


According to the Abbo, the committee had uncovered such questionable monies in the budgets of some ministries, who also feigned ignorance on how such sums got into their budgets.

“What programmes do you implement in National Social Safety Nets? Few days ago we had course to summon minister of finance when we were considering the ministry of health and primary health care,” he said.

“We observed N301 billion was inserted in the 2023 budget 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 (Medium Term Expenditure Framework)? If it is, are the specific project location activities attached to this?”

Responding, Farouq said an explanation for the said sum would be obtained from the Ministry of Finance, the details of which she said would be made to the committee.

She explained that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management requested for some projects for the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and National Social Safety Net Project in the 2022 budget which were not released.

According to her, she was taken aback that the money has now increased by 10 times in the 2023 budget of the ministry.

“Yes, we made mention of the projects for 2022 which was not released and part of it was for the NEDC.






     

     

    “The money was not released and now we have seen it recurring by almost 10 folds and 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.”

    The defence minister had told the Senate that Ahmed inserted a total of 11 billion into its 2023 budget.

    The minister of health also accused her of padding the ministry’s budget.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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