President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning prioritises funding for the armed forces of Nigeria, according to Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of the Ministry.
“We have been able to finance 100 percent of what has been provided in the budget, and also there are many instances where service chiefs met the President and got approval for special projects, and that also we have funded 100 percent,” she said at Senate Committee Hearing in Abuja yesterday.
“Perhaps, what we are providing for the armed forces is not enough, but as far as budgeted approved allocation is concerned, we have provided 100 percent and more. This meeting, therefore, affords an opportunity to look into the provision for the armed forces.
“Let us take stock of the needs of the military and see if the supplementary budget might address that issue. So, it is an opportunity we can explore.
Mrs. Ahmed noted: “But, let me quickly say, as a matter of fact, that in 2019, 19.6billion was budgeted for capital, and 12.84billion was released which amounted to 64.37 percent. In 2020, 34.37billion was allocated and that allocation was released 100 percent. In 2021, as at May ending, out of the 29billion budgeted, 17.98billion representing 61.92 percent disbursement and we are expecting to achieve 100 percent disbursement too, for 2021.
“For overhead, in 2019, out of the budgeted amount of 15.64billion, 14.299billion was released, which represents 91.01 percent.
In 2020, overhead was 20.63billion and releases was 20.471billion, representing 99.21 percent, and for the current year 2021, in the last three months, out of the budgeted overhead of 20.63billion, the sum of 4.99billion has been released, which is 96.75 percent prorated for three months.
“We have been responsive and responsible, in terms of what we have done and what we have released to the armed forces. The President puts premium on the welfare and equipment for the military, and we are doing our utmost.
“All sectors are critical and the ministry has done so much to provide resources as budgeted. I know we can do more, but we are also constrained by funding.
The Service chiefs represented by their various Heads of Accounts and Budget were present at the hearing, and all confirmed the details and the figures presented by the Honourable Minister.
The presentation and clarifications by Mrs. Ahmed were based on the news making the rounds that the military is being underfunded.
“In the past couple of months, the security challenge in the country has reached an alarming level, with series of banditry and kidnappings in the northern part of Nigeria, and killing of officers and security personnel and arson in the South,” said by Senator Ali Ndume, Chairman Senate Committee on Defence.
“This committee, therefore, is desirous of an immediate action to stem the tide. We are worried about the news from the military that resources are not made available for them to prosecute their operations. he also said.
According to him, the armed forces are overwhelmed because they do not have the resources to do their jobs. “We are here for the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to tell us what is possible in terms of funding for the military. The army says they do not have the funds, and we want the Honourable Minister to clear our doubts.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Accounts and Budget, Nigerian Army, Major General Adekunle Adigun Adesope, said that in his 30 years in the Army, 2020 was a milestone for him, because that was the first time that he saw 100 percent disbursement to the military.
He commended the support of Mr. President and the Honourable Minister in providing funding to the military. He, however, appealed for more funding, because what is appropriated to the military, according to him, is inadequate.