• Saturday, June 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Reps to Buhari: N28bn capital budget for army inadequate

How House of Reps investigation exposes TSA implementation

The House of Representatives on Friday told President Muhammadu that the N28 billion proposed as capital component for the Nigerian Army in the 2022 budget was inadequate.

The House committee on the army raised the concern when the chief of army staff, Farouk Yahaya appeared before it for the appraisal of the 2021 budget performance and defence of the proposals for the 2022 fiscal year.

Chairman of the committee, Abdulrazak Namdas emphasised the need to train more soldiers on counter-terrorism and banditry with a view to tackling the rising insecurity in the country.

Namdas decried low morale among personnel of the Nigeria Army due to their poor living condition in military barracks across the country, saying the soldiers can only be their best when they are psychologically stable.

“It is the wish of this committee to also draw the attention of the President to the plight of our officers and living in dilapidated structures scattered across 138 barracks in the country.

“Proposing N28 billion as capital for the army 2022 is very inadequate. Even if the entire money is to be used for the rehabilitation of the barracks alone, it would still be very inadequate.

Read also: Edo House of Assembly approves N18.7bn CBN’s loan for state govt

“It is our hope that the Armed Forces Fund Bill currently awaiting concurrence at the Senate when passed and assented to by the president would help tackle some of these major challenges.

“Our visit to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army, Minna, Niger State was an eye-opener. We were told that during the war period, TRADOC would be your alternate office meaning you can operate and issue commands from there.

“If that is true and if that is the case, TRADOC as a training and doctrine command needs to be supported as we have been doing more seriously to enable train our officers and men in counter-terrorism and banditry,” he said.

The House spokesperson said the need to train more soldiers on counter-terrorism and banditry was paramount, as the activities of bandits were getting more sophisticated.

He said it was because of this the National Assembly passed a resolution, urging the president to also tag bandits as terrorists so it can enable the army tackle the challenge headlong.

The army had in his submission, called for a review of the subsisting envelope budget system which over the years has been a major challenge inadequately funding the Nigerian Army for its constitutional duties.

Yahaya told the committee that the sum of N579 billion approved for the Nigerian Army for 2022 was inadequate to fight terrorism and banditry in the country. He said in preparing for the 2022 budget, the Nigerian Army proposed about N710 billion but the federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning reduced it to N579 billion.

According to the lieutenant general, the reduction would impede the capacity and tempo of the Nigerian Army in carrying out its constitutional duties particularly the ongoing war against Boko Haram terrorists and other crimes across the country.

He appealed for an increment to the initial proposal with a breakdown of N642.7 billion for personnel emolument, N29.6 billion for overhead, and N37.6 for capital cost.

Yahaya called on the National Assembly to prevail on the ministry of finance to exempt the Nigerian Army from the current budget ceiling or envelope allocation system.

The chief of army staff also urged the National Assembly to cause the finance ministry to begin the release of the 2022 Nigerian Army capital budget in the first quarter of 2022.