NEWS: Senate begins work on Buhari’s request for virement of N180 billion projects in 2016 budget


SENATE on Wednesday resolved to commence
work on President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid
to remove some N180 billion from the 2016
budget to fund the amnesty and the National
Youth Service Corps, NYSC, programmes. The
upper legislative chamber directed its
committees in charge of appropriation and
finance to do thorough legislative work on
the presidential request and submit report
next week. President Buhari had in October
asked the National Assembly to approve the
virement of N180, 839,254,439 from the
N500 billion appropriated for Special
Intervention Programme to finance other key
projects such as the amnesty programme,
National Youth Serve Corp (NYSC) and the
public service. According to the President, the
Amnesty Programme is to get a total sum of
N35 billion from the transfer. The President’s
request indicated that “the total recurrent
expenditure required to be transferred is
N166,630,886,954 while the capital
expenditure requirement to be transferred is
N14,208,367,476. A breakdown of the
specific areas the N180.9 billion would be
transferred to showed that Public Service
Wage Adjustment takes the lion share of
N71,800,215,270; followed by the Amnesty
Programme, which took N35billion while the
mobilisation of corps members received
N19,792,018,400. Others are Foreign
Missions which gulped N14,667,230,014;
Operation Lafiya Dole takes
N13,933,093,000; Nigerian Air Force takes
N12,708,367,476; internal operations of the
armed forces take N5,205,930,270; margin
for increase in cost takes N2billion while
Presidential Initiative for the North East
received N1.5billion. Also, contingency,
salary shortfall for Public Complaints
Commission got N1.2billion each while cadet
feeding of Police Academy, Kano,
augmentation of meal subsidy for unity
colleges received N932,400,000 and
N900,000,000 respectively. Explaining the
need to make more funds available to the
amnesty programme, the president said:
“Only N20,000,000,000 (already fully
released) was provided in the 2016 budget
for the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme.
Consequently, the allowances to ex- militants
have only been paid up to May 2016. This is
creating a lot of restiveness and
compounding the security challenge in the
Niger Delta.” On the NYSC funding, Buhari
said: “The Provision for NYSC in the 2016
budget is inadequate to cater for the number
of corpers to be mobilized this year. In fact,
an additional N8.5billion is required to cover
the backlog of 129, 469 corps members who
are currently due for call-up but would
otherwise be left out till next year due to
funding constraints.” The President’s letter
also explained why the sum of N71.8 billion
has to be transferred from the intervention
programme. “Similarly, the provision for meal
subsidy for the Unity Colleges is inadequate
for the number of students in the schools.
Also, there was no provision for feeding of
cadets at the Police Academy, Wudil, Kano.
These situations are hampering the
operations of the affected agencies. “The
provision for statutory transfer to the Public
Complaints Commission, PCC, was reduced to
N2,000,000,000 in 2016 from N4,000,000,000
in 2015. Consequently, the agency is
experiencing difficulty in paying salaries of
its personnel as and when due.

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