Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Minister of Defence, Mansor Dan-Ali, yesterday lamented that the major challenge facing his ministry in carrying out its mandate is the late release of funds, despite having received 96 percent of overheads and 71 percent of capital in the 2016 budget as at October 31, 2016.
The minister disclosed this in Abuja while hosting the Senate Committee on Defence in his office.
He said the total sum of twenty-eight billion, nine and eighteen million naira (N28, 918,538,000.00) was appropriated for the ministry for its personnel, overhead and capital expenditure for 2016.
According to him, “As at October 31, 2016, the following funds have been released to the ministry. Total amount released represents 96 percent of overhead appropriation and 71 percent of capital. “
He disclosed further that the approved budget for overhead was N1,613,461,370 while the total release was N1,555,766,937.56, (96 percent) and capital approved budget was N9,456, 744,170 and total release was N6,724,858,626.00 amounting to (71 percent) .
The minister noted that “late release of funds has been the major challenge facing the ministry in carrying out its mandate. Secondly, the overhead cost is inadequate to maintain the essential services of the ministry.”
Continuing, he said: “A case in point is the sum of One billion, twenty-five million , forty-four thousand, eight hundred naira (N1,025,044,800) provided for the Brigade of Guards in the 2016 appropriation while the actual expenditure as of now is over N1.3billion.”
He revealed that, “18 projects have been advertised and are currently processed by MTB for award. An overall assessment is almost completed.”
The minister stressed further that projects on barracks’ rehabilitation in the six zones of the federation have been advertised recently.
Dan-Ali also said on the ministry’s efforts to continuously ensure transparency, it intends to commence the metering of barracks from 2017 on zonal basis.
Responding, the Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Lawal, said when the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government came to power 2015, three issues were considered very important in which security was part of.
He however assured the ministry that the committee would ensure that the ministry has whatever is due to it since the present administration considers security important.