Senate uncovers N11bn inserted in 2023 budget of Defence Ministry

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By Joy Odor

Senate on Thursday uncovered the insertion of N11 billion in the proposed 2023 budget of the Ministry of Defence.

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) was seriously tackled over the development by members of the Senate Committee on Defence when he appeared before them for budget defence of his ministry.

The N11 billion insertion as observed and pointed out by the vice chairman of the committee, Senator Itsifanus Gyang (PDP Plateau North), comprise of N8.6billion earmarked for procurement of military hardwares/equipment and N2.25billion for safe School initiatives.

“Hon. Minister, in the proposed 2023 budget of your ministry, N8.6billion is discovered to have been allocated for purchase of military hardwares and N2.25billion 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,” he said.

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

In his response, the Permanent Secretary told the committee that the sums were inserted into the ministry ‘s budget for 2022 fiscal year by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

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

Apparently not satisfied with the explanation offered by the Permanent Secretary, the committee through its chairman, Senator Aliyu Wamakko told the Minister that both the N8.6billion and N2.25billion proposals for procurement of hard wares and Safe School Initiatives would be expunged from the ministry’s budget proposals.

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