Humanitarian affairs minister blames finance ministry for N206 billion budget padding as Senate expresses shock

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Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq blamed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for inserting N206 billion into her ministry’s budget in the 2023 appropriation bill.

This was made known by Farouq when he appeared before the Senate Special Duties Committee to defend his ministry’s budget proposal for 2023 on Monday at the National Assembly complex.

Farouq, who distanced the humanitarian ministry from the budget padding, said the ministry requested some projects for the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the National Social Safety Net Project in the 2022 budget that was not released.

She, however, said the ministry was surprised that the money inserted was now ten times higher than in the ministry’s proposed 2023 budget.

Committee Member Drill Minister: The meeting got a bit heated in defense of the budget when one of the committee members, Senator Elisha Abbo, sought an explanation from the minister about the N206 billion being inserted into the ministry’s budget.

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The minister, who was surprised by the amount declared, said:

  • “Yes, we did mention the projects for 2022 that were not disclosed and part of that was part of the NEDC.
  • “The money was not released and now we have seen it recurring almost 10 times. We are also going to clarify from the Ministry of Finance to find out the reason for this increase despite the fact that in the previous year the money for the project was not even released. We will get the details and then send them to you.
  • “Regarding the expansion of the National Social Security Network Project, these projects are under the National Social Security Network, the conditional cash transfer, the updating of the national social registry and the rapid response registry also to cushion the effect of inflation.
  • “This is all I can say about it. I can’t really give full details of how this amount will be used because it’s something that was negotiated between the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank.”

Abbo, who was appalled by the minister’s response, said the country would not continue to borrow money and sink into debt.

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He said,

  • “This is serious. We cannot continue to borrow money and plunge this country into debt so that our children come to pay without investing in what they will see.”

Senate summons the Minister of Finance: The chairman of the committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf, made a motion to summon the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to come and give an explanation about the N206 billion inserted in the ministry’s budget.

Yusuf said,

  • “I want to make a motion that the finance minister appear before this committee to provide this committee with the details of what they intend to do with N206 billion in the 2023 budget.
  • “Now that the minister has said that she is not in charge of the negotiation, of course not, the person in charge is the Minister of Finance.”

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