Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Environment Budget Defence Stalls in Senate Over Data Review

A presentation by the environment ministry to justify its 2012 budget performance before senators on the environment committee ran into a hitch Thursday over data the presentation contained, which could affect its allocation in the 2013 budget.

Chairman of the senate committee on environment, Senator Bukola Saraki, directed the ministry to "review some data" in its presentation before the committee.

Environment minister Hadiza Mailafia will "return at a future date to clarify all issues raised" by senators, the ministry admitted in a press release.

How the environment ministry defends its expenditures from the 2012 budget might influence funding that could be voted for it in 2013 budget, depending on how it is able to convince senators it and its agencies are capable of using the funding its gets.

Saraki stated that committee "will not hesitate to give zero budgetary allocation to the ministry or any of its agencies on any on-going or new project if they were not convinced of their capacity to utilize the funds allocated to them in previous years."

"Value for money"

Environment minister Mailafia has insisted capital projects under the ministry would be "duly executed and completed."

Efforts, she said, will be made to get value for money, and to ensure that the projects were completed in good quality and time.

But Mailafia admitted in her response before the committee that "unprecedented rain fall and the ensuing devastating floods this year posed some challenges to most of the contractors" working for the environment ministry.

Contractors already on site were especially affected, she said.

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