Don’t Cut Army Budget, Buratai Begs Lawmakers

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Tukur Buratai
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Tukur Buratai

Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Wednesday Wednesday made a passionate appeal to the National Assembly to prevail on the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to exempt the Nigerian Army from existing budget ceiling or envelope allocation system so as to be able to sustain the fight against insurgency.

Buratai, who made the call when he presented the Nigerian Army 2018 budget performance appraisal and the 2019 budget defence before the Hon. Rimande Shawulu-led House of Representatives Committee on Army, said this was necessary in view of the ongoing structural changes, volatile security environment and massive engagement of troops in virtually all the 36 states of the federation.

The army chief said in 2018, the percentage performance of Nigerian Army budget personnel emolument was 100 per cent, overhead was 100 per cent and capital was 91.69 per cent, saying “It is in the light of this that I make bold to say that the budget has performed reasonably well.”

In preparing the 2019 budget, he noted that “The Nigerian Army is requesting for the sum of four hundred and seventy two – eight billion naira (N472.8bn) However, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning proposed the total sum of two hundred and thirty two – four billion naira (N232.4b) only.”

In a breakdown of the fund required, Buratai said the sum of N350.5 billion should be approved for Nigerian Army personnel emolument in 2019 budget, the sum of N43.6 billion should be approved for 2019 army overhead budget and that the sum N78.5 billion should be approved for capital budget.

“The National Assembly should change the 40 per cent second installment payment for purchase of 3 x LUH AS-350 for NA Aviation with the procurement of Armoured Personnel Carrier “A” Vehicles.

“The National Assembly should prevail on the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to exempt the Nigerian Army from the existing budget ceiling or envelope allocation system in view of the ongoing structural changes, volatile security environment and massive engagement of troops in virtually all the 36 states
of the federation,” Buratai
said.

According to him, “The Nigerian Army has for years grappled with fund insufficiency. However, it has remained resilient and ever dedicated to the discharge of its constitutional roles. It was able to cope with the financial constraints due to the relative peaceful environment across the country prior to the re-emergence of insurgency and other hostile activities of Violent Non-State Actors.

“You may recall that since the beginning of 2015, the activities of the violent non-state actors have exacerbated in various regions across our dear country. In response to these, the Nigerian Army has expanded from five divisions to eight divisions and is currently engaged in war against Boko Haram terrorists and internal security operations in virtually all the 36 states of the Federation.”