Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Minister cites rising inflation, begs for increase in defence budget

The minister said that the rising cost of fuel and other essential items had almost made the increase useless.

• December 13, 2023
jigawa state governor, Badauru.
Jigawa State Governor, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar

Abubakar Badaru, the minister of defence, has appealed for an increase in the 2024 budget of the ministry over the rising cost of operations caused by inflation.

Mr Badaru said this at the 2024 budget defence before the joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on defence on Wednesday in Abuja.

“The 2024 budget allocates N78.5 billion to the ministry for personnel and overhead costs, an increase over the N62.9 billion allocated in 2023,” he said.

The minister said that the rising cost of fuel and other essential items had almost made the increase useless.

“I’m appealing to the distinguished senators and honourable members to review the ministry’s budget given the prevailing economic situation to enable us to function effectively.

“You are already aware of the inflationary trend and the cost of diesel, petrol, and operational costs.

“The overhead is very low, and we urge you to support us to see how we can improve our overhead. Heads of brigades consume a lot of fuel, diesel, we appeal that this can be looked into,” he said.

Mr Badaru said that the ministry had yet to access the N10 billion allocation in the 2023 supplementary budget.

He said that funding was essential to ensure simultaneous operations across all theatres of operation to ensure the country ended its security challenges at once.

“Instead of fighting in one sector, and the bandits or insurgents run into another sector, that was the intent of the supplementary budget.

“We assure the senators that we will track this expenditure and make sure the monies appropriated will be utilised fully and we will account appropriately,” he said.

Responding to questions on the current war against security challenges in the country, the minister assured lawmakers that the war would end and proposed a closed-door meeting in 2024 to discuss military operations and challenges.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, however, queried the minister for restricting the budget defence to the ministry headquarters alone.

“You are supposed to solicit and work for the entire ministry of defence ecosystem.

“There is an anomaly here. All the services and agencies are supposed to be under your care.

“This, I think, is part of our problem because it doesn’t make sense to me that the minister will be restricted to only defending the budget of the ministry headquarters, which should be the permanent secretary’s work.

“The minister is supposed to have a grip on everything. We need to see how we can work with the executive to address this kind of anomaly because it is simply not the way to work”, he said.

He assured of addressing the problem of funding for the ministry.

“But we insist on value for money,” Mr Lawan said.

(NAN)

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