The Senate has summoned the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to give record of an allocation of N206 billion inserted into the 2023 budget of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The Senate through its committee on Special Duties, asked that Ahmed appears before it with details and plans for the allocation made despite the country’s dwindling revenue and struggling economy.
The decision to invite the minister was made during the budget defence session of the Humanitarian Affairs ministry on Monday.
It was following the inability of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq to provide the details of the proposed allocation on Monday.
Farouq explained that her ministry, in 2022 requested funds for some projects for the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the National Social Safety Net Project – which was not released. She said she was surprised that ten times the requested fund was now allocated in the 2023 budget.
During the interaction, the humanitarian minister could not explain to the committee the exact details of what the sum of N206 billion in her budget is meant for.
“Yes we made mention of the projects for 2022 which was not released and part of it was part for the NEDC,” she told the panel. “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.”
A member of the panel, Elisha Abbo, lamented how the committee had to summon Ahmed earlier when the lawmakers considered the budget of the ministry of health and primary health care.
“We observed N301 billion was inserted in the budget of 2023 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 but that it was the Ministry of Finance.”
He complained that similar issues have come up with the Humanitarian ministry.