Sirika Defends N48.027bn Aviation Budget Proposal for 2019

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Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika

Scores 2018 budget implementation low

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, yesterday appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to defend the N62.027 billion proposed for the aviation sector in the 2019 Appropriation Bill.

He however rated the performance of the 2018 budget in the aviation sector very low, saying only 11.6 per cent of the total capital appropriation for the sector was released during the period under review.

Sirika, who appeared before the committee headed by Senator Adamu Aliero for the 2019 budget defence, gave a breakdown of the N48.027 billion estimate to include N47.518 billion for capital expenditure; N508.800 million as overhead expenditure and N1.440 billion as personnel cost for the 2019 fiscal year.

According to the minister, the sum of N47,518,775,322 is being proposed for capital expenditure at the headquarter in the aviation sector

He added that emphasis will be placed on sustaining the infrastructural renewal at the airports by driving the remodeling projects to a logical conclusion, “as well as upgrade and provision of necessary air navigational equipment and that of weather forecast with special attention given to safety and security infrastructure”.

Sirika further revealed that N508.8 million is also being proposed as aviation overhead expenditure for the 2019 fiscal year in line with the envelope system arising from budget guidelines.

“Similarly, and in line with the same guidelines, the sum of N1,440,117,020 is being proposed as personnel cost bringing the total recurrent cost to N1,948,917,020 for your consideration. It should be noted, however, that the personnel cost is paid from FGN Treasury by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation under the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS)”.

On funding of the ministry’s budget and that of the parastatals, the minister noted that while the main ministry is funded from the national budget, “those of the agencies like Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) derive their funds from both the National (FGN) and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) budget, while Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are wholly funded from their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”

He expressed regret that out of the N26.943 billion total capital appropriation for aviation in 2018 only N3.12 billion representing 11.6 per cent was actually released to the sector.

Serika added that N2.998 billion, representing 96 per cent of the released sum has so far been expended as at March 15.

“The total capital appropriation for the aviation sub-sector for 2018 was N26,943,855,802 out of which the sum of N3,124,228,142.40 representing (11.6 per cent) was released to the Sector.

“The sum of N2,998,641,889.62 representing (96 per cent) has so far been expended as at Marchn15, 2019 from the amount released. In addition, the sum of N508,800,000.00 was appropriated for overhead expenditure for the whole Ministry of Transportation (Aviation, Marine and Land Sectors), out of which the sum of N6296, 800,000.00 representing (58.3 per cent) was released.”

The minister also outlined challenges associated with the new terminals being built in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt airports with the $500 million loan from the China Exim Bank to include changes in structural design of the airports, foundation footing, escalators; provisions for the biggest modern aircrafts; and relocation of the control tower and the fire service station among others.