The Federal government has lamented the difficulty in financing the military, saying that it now borrows to keep the armed forces functioning.
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, disclosed this at the opening of the Nigerian Air Force Finance Training Workshop in Abuja.
The AGF, who said Nigeria’s national appropriation had been majorly deficit-budgeted for so many years now, noted that government had had to borrow in order to partly finance the annual appropriation over the years.
According to him, the 2016 appropriation was N2,947 billion whereas the variance was N908 billion (23.56%).
Speaking further, he said, in 2017, the appropriation was N4,405 billion, while the actual amount was N2,685 billion (39.04%).
Continuing, he said, in 2018, the government appropriated N3,910 billion, whereas the actual revenue was N3,910 billion with N3,256 billion(45.22%).
He said that in view of the challenges of Boko-Haram insurgency, nomads-farmers clashes, abductions, kidnapping, rapes, banditry, and the dwindling revenue, security financing had continued to attract unrivaled attention from the government as the military and security sectors of the economy had continued to receive the largest chunk of the annual budget in recent times.
“In spite of the seemingly robust funding, the NAF in view of its strategic mandate in the overall protection of the nation’s territorial integrity may perhaps, do with enhanced funding to ensure that men and materials are sufficiently catered for to enhance better efficiency.
“The snag, however, is that with the daunting challenges of inadequate funding, the service should think ‘out of the box’ to be proactive in prudently managing available resources, and also in developing alternative sources of funding for her activities.
“These may include a mix of government financing, donor-support, IGR etc. Furthermore, it will not be out of place to start thinking of a broad-based ‘Security Trust Fund’ concept to mobilise funds from the private sector and other good-spirited individuals toward enhancing military/security funding, generally.
“Modern military requires specialists in all respects to successfully drive its core and other support mandates. Therefore, one way of overcoming the challenge of inadequate financing is the effective and efficient management of lean financial resources by competent and professional personnel in the face of competing demands. In that respect, the NAF would need to command the best in her officers through capacity building and through skill acquisition and exposure to the latest financial management programmes.”
In his address on the occasion, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, said that “despite a decline in governmental allocation, the Nigerian Air Force alongside its sister services has been able to achieve commendable successes in counterinsurgency and the fight against armed banditry plaguing various regions of the country.
He said: “The Nigerian Air Force has been able to effectively deploy its platforms to these areas in support of sister services. This much was achieved through prudent management of resources allocated to the service and strict compliance with procurement laws.
Also speaking, the Chief of Budget and Accounts, Air Vice Marshall Ogbeche, noted that the last the last finance workshop for all finance personnel was conducted in 2007, adding that the training had become necessary to bring personnel of the Nigerian Air Force Finance Specialty up to speed with current Federal government financial policies as well as internal-control measures introduced to safeguard public funds.
He added that: “This two-day workshop places emphasis on some of the reforms and its applications in the NAF. It is hoped that the future application of knowledge gained from this workshop will be instructive to enable all participants to make informed decisions when organising various in-house training for other finance personnel in their places of assignment.”