Fred Itua and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), yesterday, walked out the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, saying he is incompetent to defend the ministry’s budget.
Aliyu had appeared before lawmakers to defend the 2020 budget proposal as the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola had failed to appear before the committee on the grounds that he had traveled out of Nigeria.
However, the committee’s Chairman, Aishat Dahiru, blocked the junior minister from presenting the budget saying he is new in the ministry and insisting on Fashola’s appearance.
Pleas by the minister to the committee that was accompanied by top officials of the ministry, including the Permanent Secretary, and that he had been adequately briefed to response to queries on the budget proved futile.
According to Dahiru, it was important that Fashola appears to clarify the implementation of some 2019 Social Development Goals (SDG) projects.
Fashola had been overseeing the Ministry since November 2015, while Abubakar was appointed minister in August, 2019.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, yesterday, decried the poor budgetary allocation to the National Centre for Women Development, Abuja.
Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Adewunmi Onanuga , said budgetary allocation to the Centre had steadily declined in the last three budget cycles.
Onanuga, stated this when the Centre appeared before her Committee to defend its 2020 budget proposal. The lawmaker expressed the disappointment that despite the laudable performance of the Centre, especially with women empowerment programmes, its capital budget has been on the decline since 2017.
Director General of the Centre, Mrs. Mary Ekpere-Eta, in her presentation told the Committee that though the agency submitted a budget proposal of N6.5 billion for capital expenditure, the Budget Office allocated N200 million in the 2020budget proposal before the National Assembly.
Ekpere-Eta pleaded with the National Assembly to intervene as the paltry allocation will adversely affect the performance of the agency in 2020.