The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Mrs. Sadiya Umar Farouq, has disowned the N206 billion inserted into the ministry’s 2023 budget by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Farouq, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Special Duties for 2023 budget defence, claimed that the ministry requested funding for some projects of the North East Development Commission, NEDC, and the National Social Safety Net Project in the 2022 budget which was not released, but was surprised that the money is now multiplied by 10 in the 2023 budget.
The revelation was sequel to a question by one of the committee members, Senator Elisha Abbo (APC Adamawa North), about the N206 billion proposed for projects in the budget.
In her response, the minister said the ministry actually made provisions for the projects in the 2022 budget, but which funds were not released to cater for.
“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 projects.
“So, we will get the details then and send them to you.
“On the upscaling of the National Social Safety Net project. I cannot really give full details of how this amount is going to be utilised because it is something that was negotiated between the Ministry of Finance and World Bank,” she stressed.
But Senator Abbo, who was shocked by the minister’s response, lamented that the country can’t continue to borrow money and waste it.
He said: “This is serious. We cannot continue to borrow money and plunge this country into debt for our children to come and pay without investing in what they will see.”
Chairman of the committee, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC Taraba Central), therefore, moved a motion to summon the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to come and give explanation about the N206 billion.
“I want to move a motion that the Minster of Finance should appear before this committee to furnish us with details of what they intend to do with N206 billion in the 2023 budget of this ministry.
“This is very important now that the minster has said that she is not in charge of negotiation, of course she is not, the Minster of Finance is,” he submitted.