Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, yesterday disowned N2 billion in the budget of his ministry, saying it was inserted by the Ministry of Finance.
Fashola stated this during budget defence before the Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Committee chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue) had queried the provision of N2 billion in the budget of Housing Ministry for “Regional Housing Scheme.” The project is tagged FMOWP99934089.
Gemade asked: “What is this provision of N2billion for? What is regional housing scheme? Where is it taking place? What is happening? Have you seen it on Page 18?”
Responding, Fashola said: “It is not our project… It is a Ministry of Finance initiative. They are saying that they want to do what they called … It is not from us.”
In his reaction, Gemade said: “But you are here to defend this budget in totality.
Fashola then said: “That is what has come. I am explaining to you now, sir, on how it comes into our budget. That is not what we submitted. We didn’t submit that proposal.”
It was at this point that Gemade said they would invite the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun to explain how the money got into the budget.
The committee also expressed reservations about the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the Ministry and asked the minister to “brace up.”
Billions solid minerals revenues not declared – Minister
At another session minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi said billions of naira generated from the solid minerals sector had not been declared over the years.
Fayemi who appeared before the House of Representatives committee on solid minerals for 2017 budget defence said the development had negatively affected government revenues.
“Clearly, there has been non-declaration and under reporting of revenues in the solid minerals sector. That’s why we decided to engage consultants working in partnership with state governments to sure-up revenue accruable to the country.
“The declared revenue of N2.8bn is inadequate reflection of what goes on in the mining sector. I should also add that we generate more than N2.8bn. This money mostly came from royalty, and if you look at the Dangotes, CGCs and other construction outfits, royalties from them should run into hundreds of billions and not N2bn,” he said.
He said the ministry had been remitting its internally generated revenue to government coffers via the Treasury Single Account (TSA), adding that they do not retain any amount at the ministry as they have their budgetary allocation.
He said as part of efforts to boost the solid minerals sector, the sum of N30 billion was approved under the Natural Resources Grant, pointing out that investments in the sector take time before yielding results.