Abuja: Senator Smart Adeyemi, Member, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy could not contain his anger when the Ministry of Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy appeared before the committee for the 2022 budget defense on Monday, 1st November, 2021.

Adeyemi’s anger stemmed from the fact that the Ministry appropriated N82 billion for the purchase of mosquito nets whereas the “meagre sum” of N10 billion was allocated to such an important sector as Solid Minerals.

From the breakdown given by the Minister of State (Mines and Steel), Dr. Uchechukwu Samp­son Ogah, out of the N23.4 billion budget profile for the ministry in 2022, N10 billion is for per­sonnel cost, N1.47 billion for overhead cost and N11 billion for capital projects.

However, Senator Adeyemi queried, “How on earth would a minister propose N82 billion for procurement of mosquito nets and a sector as important as the Solid Minerals, given N10 billion or N11 billion? Let mosques kill all of you! “

“Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex that can give jobs to about 50,000 Nigerians is ly­ing fallow in a country with army of unemployed youths who can stage revolution at any time”

The senator representing Kogi West, towed Al-Makura’s position when he spoke to journalists on the sideline of the com­mittee’s interface with min­istry officials that the N23.4 billion 2022 budget estimate was “grossly inadequate and a clear indication that the Federal Government was not in tune with the realities on ground.”Presenting the budget before the committee of the upper chamber earlier, the Minister of State (Mines and Steel), Dr. Uchechukwu Samp­son Ogah, gave a breakdown of the figure, noting that out of the N23.4 billion

“Nigeria is bleeding from this envelope form of budget­ing riddled with repetition of line items and allocations on yearly basis.“Government may be building infrastructure but building infrastructure is not as good as creating wealth through diversification of the economy.“The best way of doing this is to remove whatever bottle­neck hindering continuation of work on Ajaokuta Steel Complex and get it complet­ed”, he said.But the minister in his response said envelope bud­geting was not the creation of the ministry as it affects other government agencies.“My appeal to you distin­guished senators on the cur­rent model of budgeting is for the National Assembly to seek the attention of the president.

“Operating with envelope as far as yearly budget is concerned, doesn’t make one think out of the box. It makes one look stupid.“We have the passion to drive the development of the country and transform into reality, the vision of Mr. President like other patriotic Nigerians in one public office or the other,” he said.

He added that even with the envelope budgeting and lean resources, the ministry has changed the narrative of low internally generated revenue to very appreciable figures now.“In recent past, it used to be N2 billion on yearly basis but has increased to N6.2 billion now with a target of hitting N10 billion by the end of the year,” he said.However, as a result of short notice given the min­istry for the budget presen­tation, the committee later rescheduled Monday next week for detailed defence of 2021 budget implementation and presentation of 2022 bud­get estimates, respectively

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