Senate says FCTA’s N232.8bn budget is scanty with details
The Senate on Thursday queried a budget of N232.8 billion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), in the 2020 fiscal year.
The Upper Chamber faulted the budget because, it said the details were scanty and that N33 billion was voted for decongestion of the Abuja city center by the Minister of the FCT, Mohammed Bello.
The Senate further questioned that the FCT budget did not, however, propose any financial allocation for the security of the city, even as Abuja is faced with several security challenges.
The bill for an Act to issue from the FCTA statutory revenue fund of the FCTA account, the sum of N232.8bn for the 2020 financial year, sponsored by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (Kano North), passed second reading in Senate on Thursday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday wrote to Senate seeking approval for the 2020 statutory budget proposal of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), without initially stating how much the proposed budget will gulp.
Buhari’s request was contained in a letter he addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, dated December 10, 2019.
But in a bill presented by Abdullahi before the Senators on Thursday, out of the N232.8 billion proposed for the FCTA budget, it was revealed that N52.876 billion is voted for personnel cost, and N57.070 billion for overhead cost while N121.9 billion is proposed for capital projects respectively.
When the bill was presented, the Senators said the details on the budget were scanty and the Senate Committee on Finance should urgently review it before it would be considered.
However, Senator Adeola Solomon, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, while commenting on the budget disclosed that the sum of N33bn was budgeted for the Abuja decongestion in the proposed FCT budget.
While the Senate said only N1.5 billion was budgeted for the Abuja water board, it queried that the money was not enough to ensure adequate provision of water to the FCT and its suburbs, hence the need to review it.
For Senator James Manager (Delta South), the non-availability of the budget details has breached constitutional provisions and as such, does not provide any lead way for its implementation.
Meanwhile, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has advised the FCT minister, Bello to employ quick measures to raise the revenue bar of the FCTA.
Lawan suggested: “the minister should get the right experts to advise the FCTA on how best to improve on its revenue generation.”
While questioning that no budget was provided to enhance security in the FCT, Lawan further urged that the budget performance of the FCT in 2019 should be reviewed. He referred the bill to the Senate Committee on FCT to report back in one week.