Ndume Calls For Increase In Northeast Allocations

Ali Ndume, Northeast, Budget AllocationFormer Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, says more needs to be done to improve the humanitarian situation in Nigeria’s Northeast.

Speaking to journalists at the National Assembly in Abuja, Senator Ndume called for increase in the budget allocated to the region.

“In the budget proposal under consideration by the National Assembly (that is this year), only 45 billion Naira is allocated for the Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI).

“This is grossly inadequate to address the emergency humanitarian crisis we are faced with.

“We have made a case to the National Assembly; the PCNI has written to the Speaker, there’s a favourable response.

“I have personally raised the issue with the Senate President and there is a favourable response to increase the budgetary allocation for the humanitarian crisis in the northeast from 45 billion Nara to a reasonable amount,” he said.

The lawmaker said over 2.5 million children are malnourished in the region, not to mention other alarming situations while highlighting the need for decisive intervention in the region.

He also urged the Federal and State governments to work together to ensure efficiency in managing the crisis in the northeast.

Ndume Advocates Improved Allocation For Northeast Intervention

Ali Ndume, Northeast Intervention, Budget AllocationThe Senate Committee Chairman on Finance, Ali Ndume, says the Federal Government’s 45 billion naira allocation in the 2017 budget for intervention in Nigeria’s Northeast is not adequate.

Senator Ndume, a member of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI), made the observation after the PCNI visited the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa.

The group’s visit was to declare its donation of food items which were offloaded at the warehouse of the National Emergency Management Agency in Maiduguri.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the international community; and I have said this even on the floor of the National Assembly that the contribution of the international community and its commitment to the humanitarian crisis we have in the northeast is more than that of the government.

“We are now calling on the government using this medium to at least take the lead or match what the international communities do,” Ndume said.

The senator noted further that foreign aid and commitment to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have continued to dwarf government’s effort over the years.

“So far the humanitarian response plan under what we call UNOCHA is budgeting $1.05 billion for 2017 (and) if you turn that into Naira, it translates into over 300 billion Naira.

“As at December last year, $449 million was donated by the international community; that also represents about 130 billion Naira.

“Unfortunately last year, the Nigerian Government budgeted only 12 billion Naira. In this year’s budget, it budgeted only 45 billion Naira (and) that also is grossly inadequate.

“So we ask the Borno State government to join us and other members of the National Assembly that are crying out to the government and to the leadership of the National Assembly to increase the budget for the intervention in the northeast from a paltry 45 billion Naira to at least 108; that is our call.” Senator Ndume stated.

Mr Durkwa, on his part, thanked the PCNI for the food donations which he said would go a long way in complementing the feeding of the IDPs.

He, however, urged donors to consider providing building materials in subsequent interventions to speed up the resettling process of the displaced persons.

“We say we are grateful and we ask for more. Now that we are in the post-insurgency stage, it’s time to now carry out constructions and resettle our people back to their base.

“That means we expect more apart from the food security. We are still asking for building materials to complement the effort of the state government,” the deputy governor stated.

The Borno State government is presently carrying out rebuilding of homes destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists in Bama, Gwoza, Konduga and Kaga local government area of the state.

Fashola Presents N489.69 Billion Budget Estimate For 2014

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), on Wednesday presented to the State House of Assembly for approval, a total Budget Estimate of N489. 69 billion for the 2014 financial year, saying the focus would be to complete on-going projects and consolidate on the gains of the past budgets.

The amount, which is about N7.587 billion short of the 2013 Estimate, as is traditional with the Governor Fashola administration, prioritizes Capital over Recurrent Expenditure with Economic Affairs, General Public Service and Education taking the lion share.

According to details of the Budget presented in the Chambers of the new House of Assembly, Capital Expenditure took N255.025 billion while Recurrent Expenditure got N234.665, which represents a Capital to Recurrent Expenditure ratio of 52:48 as against 58:42 ratio for 2013.

In sectoral allocation, according to the Budget details, Economic Affairs got the lion share with N160,046,436,169 or 32.68% followed by General Public Service which got N100,215,966,990 or 20.47% while Education with N77,423,827,872, representing 15.81% of the Budget Estimate, came 3rd.

Other sectors of the economy that got priorities include Housing and Community Amenities N50,537,201,984 billion (10.32%), Environmental  Protection N39,727,711,248 (8.11%), Health N37,812,553,057(7.72%), Public Order & Safety N17,977,368,027 (3.67%), Recreation, Culture & Religion N3,482,081,806 (0.71%) and Social Protection which brought up the rear with N2,466,309,939 representing 0.50% of the Budget.

Reviewing the performance of the Year 2013 Budget, Governor Fashola noted that the Year 2014 Budget would be the last full year budget that his administration would implement, and expressed joy that the current Budget has performed exceedingly well.

According to the Governor, “In the 1st quarter of this year, I reported a budget performance of 61%, while the 2nd quarter performance was 83% and the recently reported 3rd quarter performance was 70% giving us a cumulative aggregate performance of 71% in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters of the year”.

Expressing the commitment of his administration to improving upon the 4th quarter performance, Governor Fashola, however, gave reasons why the performance could not be taken beyond what was reported to include the constraint posed by the limitation of financial resources which, according to him, was a direct consequence of delays in Federal allocation to the State, tax default by a large segment of the society, and the continued growing population of the State which has put immense pressure on existing facilities.

Urging Lagos residents who are yet to start paying their taxes to do so, the Governor declared, “It is a commonwealth that gives everybody a chance to realize their aspirations”, adding that it has helped to reduce the State’s dependence on the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee remittances.

In his remarks after the presentation, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, gave a commitment that the House would apply its utmost best, within legislative powers to give the 2014 Budget proposal the undiluted attention it deserves.

While appreciating the efforts of the Executive arm towards ensuring fiscal responsibility in the 2013 Budget, the Speaker urged the Governor to ensure that the Budget addresses debt reduction and completion of on-going projects as already specified in his budget speech.