The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has condemned the action of the Federal Government over the proposed Works Ministry’s budget of N100 Billion naira that was slashed to N11 Billion naira, which amounted to 89 percent slashes leaving the ministry with peanut to work with.
The Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, said the ministry’s N100bn proposed budget for 2015 was slashed by the Ministry of Finance to N11bn, representing an 89 per cent reduction. Onolememen, who was in the Senate to defend his ministry’s estimates for the fiscal year, added that no sum was approved for the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency’s capital projects and the Office of the Surveyor -General of the Federation. He said the Finance ministry predicated its action on the economic realities on the ground.
The Minister expressed concern that only 33 out of the 210 ongoing road projects had been provided for in view of the “lean allocation” to the ministry. He also said the provision was not sufficient to encourage contractors to sustain appreciable progress on their work sites. Onolememen added, “No provisions have been made for other departments of the ministry such as Road and Bridge Design Department, Mechanical and Electrical Department and the Service Department.”
The minister also disclosed that since 2011, the ministry had always been owed outstanding budgeted funds. He said, “Only N45, 682, 844, and 395.00 was released for the works ministry out of 2014 capital appropriation of N98, 814, 368, 704. This leaves a balance of N53, 131, 524, 309.00 not released as of December 2014, emphasizing that the performance of the ministry would have been considerably enhanced if the outstanding budgeted funds of N53.131bn had been released to the ministry.
Reacting to the news, CACOL Executive Chairman Comrade Debo Adeniran in his reaction said “for the proposed allocation to be slashed to such an amount is either the previous year’s budget has been much over bloated because the slash in budget allocation as claimed by the Finance Minister to be due to the economic realities on the ground is not supposed to involve the Ministry of Works because this is the only Ministry where the Nigerians would be able to see government performance.
The Human Right Crusader said the amount (11 billion naira) agreed on to be allocated to the Ministry by the Financial Minister is nothing to write home about, thereby leaving them with nothing to work with and creating an avenue for more excuses, thereby leaving the Ministry with no fund to maintain the ongoing Federal Roads capital projects.
The ministry has a total ongoing project of about 210, and approving only 11 billion out of their 100 billion Naira budget will eventually handicap the Ministry.
Speaking further, Adeniran urged the Federal Government to look inward into the area of Custom Duties and the Maritime end. What is expected to come into the country from those ends is enough to serve the whole Nigerian states but the magnitude of self-denial that is being experienced in waivers has denied the country of its profit. The Federal Government should also rather reduce or slash the Government Service Heads allowances; oversea costing and cut down the wastes in Presidency not slash down the ministry of Work’s budget provision. The major challenge to timely completion of projects is inadequate budgetary provision for projects.
SOURCE: Universal Reporters.