April 13, 2024

Reps scrap N5bn presidential yacht from budget

Reps scrap N5bn presidential yacht from budget

… increase student’s loan to 10bn

The House of Representatives has removed the controversial N5 billion presidential yacht from the 2023 supplementary budget.

The budget was passed on Tuesday by the House after adopting the report submitted by the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Abubakar Bichi from Kano State.

The Committee of Supply considered the recommendations of the Appropriations Committee and passed the bill.

Bichi, after the passage of the budget, spoke with journalists and announced that the committee removed the controversial presidential yacht.

He stated that the N5 billion was moved to the Student Loans, increasing the allocation for student loans to 10bn as against 5.5bn

The committee also increased the budgetary allocation of the Ministry of Defence from 476bn to 546bn following security concerns.

Bichi also disclosed that the minimum wage for workers was considered and approved for onward transmission to the executive while promising proper legislative oversight to ensure 100 per cent implementation

The sum of 100bn was also retained for FCT as requested by the minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike

The House, therefore, passed the sum of N2.177trn as the supplementary budget.

Recall that the proposal by President Bola Tinubu had included spending N1.5 billion on vehicles for the office of the First Lady, N5 billion on a presidential yacht and another N12.5 billion on the presidential air fleet.

“Actually, we have submitted our reports to the House and after careful consideration, the House has approved our submissions and the breakdown is as follows.

“As you know, the budget is about N2.1tn and the ministry of defence has about N456bn but currently the ministry of defence has the largest share because we know how important our security is. As you are aware, we had an interaction with them yesterday. Currently, we have increased their budget from N456bn to N546, 209,099,671 billion.

“For Police formation and command, we gave them N50bn while the FCT has about N100bn. You know FCT is essential to us, so we want to make sure that FCT can compete with any state in the world. That is why we gave them N100bn.

“On the Office National Security, their initial budget was N27bn but currently we have increased their budget to N50bn. For the state house, their initial budget was N28bn and we maintained that.

“On the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, you know how important that ministry is, we maintained their initial figure of N200bn as well. For the Ministry of Housing, you know we have a serious housing deficit in the country and in Mr. President’s agenda, he wants to build as much as he can, so we have approved N100bn for housing.

“Service-wide votes initially was N615 but currently we reduced it to N515bn.

“For INEC, initially their budget was N18bn, and yesterday we had an interaction with the INEC Chairman and he convinced us with his submissions and we maintained their N18bn.

“So far, we have approved N2,176, 791, 286, 33 trillion. We will continue to support the government so we can deliver democracy.

On the presidential yacht, Bichi said: “Actually, as far as we are concerned, we don’t have that anymore. We have increased the student loan. Initially, the student loan was N5bn in the budget but we have increased it to N5bn so that our students can access that facility in order for them to go to school. We don’t have the Yacht anymore in the budget.

He assured that lawmakers would ensure adequate oversight over how the funds are spent, saying that “our members, especially those standing committees, oversee those projects and ensure the money is used judiciously. From now to three months, we are going to call them and ask them what they have done with the money.”

Following the passage of the bill, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas announced that the president would sign the bill on Friday.

Daily Trust

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