27 May 2011

Nigeria: FG to Spend N100 Billion On Ex-Militants

The 2011 Appropriation amendment bill passed by the National Assembly provides among several other things about N100 billion for settlement of ex-militants in the Niger Delta.

The ex-militants are to get N17bn as feeding allowances, N35.7bn for re-integration, N17.5bn as arrears for re-integration of transformed militants, N20.4bn for additional allocation to 6,166 ex-militants and N6.5bn as safety allowances to 20,192 transformed ex-militants (2010 arrears).

The budget which has now been read for the third time in both chambers is to be transmitted to the Presidency for assent.

President Goodluck Jonathan had returned the original N4.9tr budget passed by the National Assembly and requested for downward review to N4.407tr.

But the National Assembly jacked up the figure to N4.484tr increasing the provision for several subheads including the legislature.

Senate Leader Teslim Folarin suspended and invoked standing rules for the Senate to conclude the entire process of considering the budget proposal sent to the Senate Tuesday. In a harmonised report of the two chambers, the lawmakers jacked up the provision for the National Assembly from N120bn provided by President Jonathan to N150bn. The President had slashed the legislature's budget down from N232bn to N120bn.

Details of the budget passed show that the lawmakers increased the Statutory Transfer by N30bn; from N387.8bn to N417.8bn to take care of additional fund for the National Assembly.

Recurrent expenditure is now N2.425trn from N2.401tr while Capital expenditure is to get N1.146tr as against N1.122tr proposed by the President.

Presenting the report of the budget amendment bill, Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Iyiola Omisore said "the decision of the Senate to pass the N4.97 trillion was based on the believe that the incoming government needs to improve on the infrastructures of the country."

Also speaking during the budget consideration, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North) said "there is need for the executive to work closely with the legislature for subsequent budgets so that the minister or any other person will not come and tell us that it is not feasible."

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