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2018 budget: How N’Assembly cut N347.5bn from 4,700 MDAs projects

•Works, water resources, education suffer highest cuts

Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

Facts have emerged on how the National Assembly reduced allocations to 4,700 projects of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government to the tune of N347.55bn.

Documents obtained from the Budget Office of the Federation on Monday in Abuja showed that 25 MDAs were affected by the reduction in allocation for their capital projects.

President Muhammadu Buhari while signing the 2018 budget last month, had said that it would be difficult to effectively implement the programmes of his administration as contained in the budget as passed owing to several distortions made to the document by lawmakers.

Buhari had regretted that the federal lawmakers made reductions amounting to N347bn in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578bn.

The President had said, “The logic behind the constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.

“Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347bn in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578bn”

An analysis of the document obtained from the budget office showed that 25 MDAs were affected by the cuts to the 4,700 projects.

Most affected by the reduction in allocations is the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, which has funds on 1,135 projects cut by the lawmakers.

The allocation for capital projects for the ministry was reduced by N97.1bn from the Executive’s proposed amount of N475.14bn to N377.97bn by the National Assembly.

This is followed by ministry of water resources with a total of 886 projects representing a cut of N19.76bn from the proposed N70.8bn sent by the Executive.

The Ministry of Education had a reduction of N10.9bn for 682 projects, health had a cut of N25.4bn on 379 projects, while the agriculture and rural development ministry suffered a cut of N8.2bn on 388 projects.

The Ministry of Budget and National Planning suffered a slash of N65.16b on 10 projects; communications had N2.2bn cut on 39 projects; defence had N12.4bn on 50 protects; while environment had N1.7bn reduction on 183 projects.

Similarly, the sum of N16.2bn was reduced from the capital budget of the Federal Capital Territory Administration on 24 projects, while the ministries of information, interior, justice and labour suffered cuts of N2.3bn, N4.3bn, N43.9m and N2.9bn on 40, 84, one and 43 projects, respectively.

In the same vein, the mines and steel ministry’s 11 projects were affected with a cut of N869.8m; while the Niger Delta ministry had N10.8bn slashed on 103 projects; the National Security Adviser had N3.4bn cut off its 16 projects. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Ministry of Petroleum Resources recorded cuts of N4.3bn and N1.9bn on 169 projects and 15 projects, respectively.

The National Assembly also reduced the capital budget of the National Population Commission by N560m for seven projects; the Presidency had N348m reduced on eight projects; the Ministry of Science and Technology recorded a cut of N10.6bn on 288 projects; and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had its capital allocation reduced by N15.9bn on 30 projects.

The budget of Ministry of Transportation was also reduced by N26.29bn on 42 projects, while ministries of women affairs and youths and sports development suffered reduction of N655m and N2.58bn on 16 projects and 51 projects, respectively.

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