Senate bemoans Communication Ministry’s poor budget performance

The Senate Committee on Communications Thursday said it is difficult for the sum of 18.1 billion to be approved for the Ministry of Communications, saying that the ministry’s performance as regards the 2018 budget was poor.

The Committee sitting presided over by Senator Isah Hamman Misau, who stood in for the substantive chairman, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, observed that the Communication ministry’s 2019 budget was reduced by N1.6billion less than that of 2018.

The Chairman said only 17 projects out of the 121 budgeted for, were receiving attention two months to the end of 2018 budget year.

“The Committee also observed that out of 121 capital projects approved and appropriated in 2018, just about 17 projects have reaches varying degrees of completion, leaving a larger percentage either not funded or executed at all. This is worrisome.”

The Committee sought to know the rationale behind the introduction of 52 new projects as reflected in 2019 budget, pointing out that a vast majority of old projects were left unexecuted.

Reacting, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, who appeared before the committee with some officials, agreed to the sad story of inadequate funding of projects.

He was however optimistic that within two weeks, funds would be released by the Federal Government to execute more projects.

WE4WEREPORTS observed that Senator Gilbert Nnaji was yet to resume sitting weeks after the elections break, for undisclosed reasons.

Meanwhile, the Senate on Tuesday adjourned sitting for one week to enable completion of 2019 budget defence which is expected to be passed into law next week.