FG to Submit Budget for Five New Ministries in October


Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government will next month submit the budget to the National Assembly for the five ministries that were created last month by President Muhammadu Buhari, THISDAY learnt yesterday.

The newly created ministries are Aviation and Power; Special Duties and International Affairs; Police Affairs and Humanitarians Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

A highly placed government source revealed that the budget is to cover the cost of workers’ salaries, new offices as well as purchase of vehicles and office equipment like computers and furniture.

The government has been running the affected ministries without an approved budget since their creation was announced by President Buhari on August 21 when he inaugurated the expanded federal cabinet to assist him in his second term in office.

The fate of the new ministries will still hinge on the passage of the budget by the National Assembly, effectively allowing appropriation to be approved from January to December 2020.

Presidency sources explained that the budget would enable the five news ministries to fully take off next year away from the present arrangement where their funding is completely at the instance of their parent ministries.

The creation of the ministries has jerked up the number of federal ministries in the second term of the Buhari administration to 43.

In light of the development, it is also expected that as fallout, the establishment of new parastatals that will drive the operations of the new ministries will see a substantial rise in the size of the 2020 budget.

The present financial situation of the new ministries has prompted the scaling down of their activities pending when they will have their own approved budget.

One of the teething challenges presently confronting the ministries is that they neither have their own visible secretariats nor back up staff across all administrative cadres.

Also, some of the ministers are superintending the affairs of their respective ministries from make-shift offices.

For instance, the Minister of Special Duties and International Affairs, Senator George Akume, is said to be running the ministry from a place near the Ministry of Niger Delta, while Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, who is the substantive Minister of Humanitarians Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, is also running the ministry from the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, which was her last designation as a former federal commissioner until she was appointed a minister.

Some of the ministers are said to have drawn the attention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, to the operational challenges confronting the new ministries.

THISDAY checks at the Office of the SGF revealed that the federal government has also initiated massive posting of workers from some of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to the newly established ministries as part of efforts to cushion their operational challenges.