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Alleged budget padding: Senate panel grills finance minister

Alleged budget padding: Senate panel grills finance minister %Post Title
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed


















The Senate Committee on Appropriations yesterday queried the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, over alleged padding of the 2023 budget proposals of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The minister, who appeared before the panel in Abuja, blamed the affected ministers and heads of agencies for not doing due diligence when the proposals were presented to them for scrutiny before the final submission of the fiscal document to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and subsequent presentation to a joint session of the National Assembly on October 7, 2022.

Mrs. Ahmed said: “All the proposed budgetary sums, like the N206 billion in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; N8.6 billion in the Ministry of Defence budget; and the N195.4 billion in the estimates for the Ministry of Power, etc, were all captured before presentation by Mr. President.

“Most of these sums are bilateral or multilateral loans captured in the budget of agencies selected for project execution for the sole purpose of transparency.

“The totality of such loans captured in the proposed budget of the relevant agencies is N1.771 trillion.

“Had heads of the affected MDAs carried out thorough scrutiny of their budgetary proposals, the issue of insertion or budget padding wouldn’t have arisen at all.

“It was the realisation of this that made the Minister of Defence, Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd.), to apologise after feigning ignorance about the N8.6 billion in his ministry’s budget during interface with Senate Committee on Defence.”

Apparently satisfied by the explanation, Committee Chairman Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North) said the minister’s clarifications were well understood by all the committee members.

He praised her for ensuring transparency by capturing of such loans or grants in the budget.

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