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Senate queries defence minister over N11bn additional budget

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Adekunle Adesuji

The Senate on Thursday  queried  the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd.), on the insertion of N11 billion in the proposed 2023 budget of the Defence Ministry.

The lawmakers kicked against the insertion during the budget defence of the Ministry of Defence before the Senate Committee on Defence .

The N11bn extra as observed and pointed out by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Itsifanus Gyang comprises of N8.6bn earmarked for the procurement of military hardware /equipment and N2.25bn for Safe School Initiatives.

He said, “Hon Minister, in the proposed 2023  budget of your Ministry N8.6bn is discovered to have been allocated for the purchase of military hardware and N2.25bn for Safe School Initiatives.

“The two items, when critically viewed, were not supposed to be in the ministry’s budget since hardware procurements are done by the Army, Navy and Air Force and Safe School Initiative by the Federal Ministry of Education.

“These to us are duplications of budgetary votes which require explanations from you.”

The minister in his response sought permission from the committee for the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ibrahim Kana to respond.

The Permanent Secretary in his response told the committee that the sums were added to the Ministry’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

“The two budgetary votes were not initiative of the ministry. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning put them there,” he said.

The Committee chaired by Senator Aliyu Wammako was not satisfied with the response of the Permanent Secretary and told the minister that both the N8.6bn and N2.25bn proposals for the procurement of hardware and Safe School Initiatives would be expunged from the ministry’s budget.

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