N206bn inserted into humanitarian affairs ministry’s budget wrongly coded – Ahmed

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The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has said that the N206 billion captured in the 2023 proposed budget of the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development was wrongly coded by the budget office.

Recall that the minister of humanitarian affairs, Mrs. Sadiya Umar Farouq had alleged that N206, 242,395,000 billion was inserted into its proposed budget for the purchase of mosquito nets under its national social safety nets project funded by the World Bank.

However, Ahmed said at a meeting with the house of representatives committee on appropriation yesterday that wrong coding was responsible as the sum was for the National Social Safety Nets Project – Scale Up (NSSNP-SU).

She noted that the wrong coding resulted in the item being wrongly captured as “purchase of security equipment” and had nothing to do with budget padding but an oversight.

She said Farouq should have called the attention of the budget office to the anomaly like her counterparts in other ministries.

The minister further explained that the project at issue was correctly described in the submission from International Economic Relations Department (IERD) for the 2023 appropriation bill, but regrettably, a wrong code was inadvertently used in the process of inputting it, which resulted in it being captured as Purchase of Security Equipment in the Budget Preparation System (BPS).

She explained that the World Bank was the funding source for the project domiciled in the humanitarian ministry’s headquarters, with projected drawdown of $473,500,000, which is equivalent to N206,242,395,000, using the N435.57/$ exchange rate applicable to the 2023 proposed budget.

The minister further explained that the same project was correctly captured in the 2022 budget of the ministry in the amount of N12, 304,500,000 based on the projected drawdown of $30 million at N410.15/$ 2022 budget exchange rate.

Also on the alleged wrong insertions in the ministry of defence proposed budget pertaining to Refurbishment and Procurement of Harris RF-5/7800 Military Communication Equipment and Safe Schools Initiative Projects, Ahmed said: she said, “The minister of defence wrote to Mr. President requesting the immediate release of $1,363,880.40 and N158, 928,045.37 for the implementation of Phase 1 of the project. HM-MoD also requested the sums of $12,274,923.60 and N11, 946,311,375.18 to implement Phases 2 and 3 of the project, all of which Mr. President graciously approved. “Further to Mr. President’s approval, 50 per cent of the requirement for Phases 2 & 3, amounting to N8,600,000,000 (using the exchange rate of N435.57/$), has been included in the 2023 budget proposal of the MoD.”

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