Day 3 of The Senate Committee’s Presentation of Budget Report to the Appropriation Committee

Day 3 of The Senate Committee’s Presentation of Budget Report to the Appropriation Committee

Senate Committee on Appropriations commenced its meeting with its Subcommittees at 10:53 am with a prayer by Senator Barau Jibrin, Chairman, Committee on Appropriations.

The Committee on Appropriations met with the Committee on Interior Chaired by Senator Kashim Shettima.

“We did not tinker with any of the content, although we made some little adjustments to the budget.”- Senator Kashim Shettima.

“The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) made a request of recruiting 10,000 personnel into the Corps but this wasn’t considered. We are now presenting this request before the Appropriations Committee to consider it.”- Senator Kashim Shettima.

“There is a need for us to address some of our fundamental security challenges by reinforcing the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).”-Senator Kashim Shettima.

“On the Federal Fire Service, we have cases of fire outbreak and people helplessly watch as their properties are burnt to ashes. We make an appeal for additional funds for the Fire Service so we can reposition them to meet their mandate.”- Senator Kashim Shettima.

“Thank you Mr Chairman, looking at the face of your report it shows that you have done a wonderful job. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) needs more money and you have asked us to look at it without increasing their budget. This is indeed commendable.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

“I will add my weight to this recommendation that we should consider the recruitment of 10,000 personnel to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). I support this recommendation.”- Senator Adamu Aliero.

Senator Kashim Shettima submitted the report of the Committee.

Senator Abubakar Kyari, Chairman Committee on FCT took his turn in presenting the report of the Committee.

“Since 2008 till date, the trend of FCT national appropriations budget has been shrinking sharply over the years. Accessing the funds from the approved budget has become a herculean task. Budget performance has highly declined.”- Senator Abubakar Kyari.

“Thank you for a job well done, you have done exactly what we have asked the Committees to do, we commend you for that.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

“We are a bit disturbed from the way things are going on in FCT. This is one of the most important symbols of national sovereignty; their car parks everywhere we are not supposed to have a car park. There are certain innovations that can be brought to make the city beautiful, the Jabi Lake mall can be transformed into a tourist centre.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

“If the Minister would not do it, you (Senator Abubakar Kyari) can do it. Please come up with ideas that can transform FCT to make it more beautiful. We want to see things that will further beautify the city.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

“The FCT Minister at an interactive session with the Senate Committee on FCT pledged to work with us. I told him with the way he is going, he may not have legacies to show after serving as the longest FCT Minister. He needs to sit down and double his efforts in revenue generation. Abuja belongs to everybody; Abuja has grown but there is an issue of insecurity, waste management and streetlight. He has to be proactive and act fast. This go-slow cannot work for us.”- Senator Abubakar Kyari.

“The budget of FCT has been shrinking because it is supposed to generate revenue. I generated revenue through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) when I served as FCT Minister and the same strategy can be implemented by the current FCT Minister. If FCT can concentrate on generating revenue on property tax alone, they won’t need allocation from the federal government.”- Senator Adamu Aliero.

“I do not know what the FCT Minister is doing; you are supposed to push him to do this. What is the FCT Revenue Board doing? They should start collecting property tax. The ideas are there; they should also implement strategies on how to clean the city without outsourcing.”- Senator Adamu Aliero.

“We are saying this because we know you can do it; so please drive the process and we shall support you.”- Senator Barau Jibrin.

Senator Abubakar Kyari submitted the report of the Committee.

Senator Uche Ekwunife, Chairman Committee on Science and Technology took her turn in presenting the report of the Committee.

“There are certain sectors in Science and ICT that need some fundings. The world is going global on science and technology. It is on that note that I would like to sell to the Appropriations Committee that after all adjustments, exactly what the Ministry brought to us was retained.”- Senator Uche Ekwunife.

“The report I have here is already harmonized with the counterpart in the House of Representatives.”- Senator Uche Ekwunife.

“Agencies that perform similar functions should be merged.”- Senator Adamu Aliero.

“It is difficult to merge agencies under the Ministry of ICT as their core mandates are quite different.”- Senator Uche Ekwunife.

“The report is user-friendly and I think that we do not really have much work to do. Let me commend Senator Uche Ekwunife and also congratulate her on her victory at the court of appeal.”- Senator Gershom Bassey.

“The population in Nigeria consist of 70 per cent, out of that, almost 60 per cent are graduates and not employable. Microsoft wrote two years ago that 28 per cent of their services will be ICT base. Therefore, for third world countries to key in, young people must be trained in ICT.”- Senator Stella Oduah.

“In Nigeria, we do not devote much to research. Government is not seeing science and technology as an important sector to fund. Some researches that started years ago are struggling to get funds, it has never been a smooth journey for research and technology in this country. Envelope system cannot work for science and research in this country.”- Senator Uche Ekwunife.

“Commercialization must be a component unit of a research agenda. Going forward, this budget will enable us set an agenda to move things in the right direction.”- Senator Aliyu Sabi.

“To get most of these research done, we need professors who are specialist in that profession. I would like to use this moment to appeal for more funding in the sector.”- Senator Uche Ekwunife.

“Multiple things need to be done; our curriculum needs to change. We need to address this gap that exists. This is a very pivotal sector, we cannot underscore the need to have a very vibrant sector like this.”- Senator Stella Oduah.

Senator Uche Ekwunife submitted the report of the Committee.

The meeting is adjourned to Monday, 4th November 2019.

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