Jonathan demands immediate passage of 2013 Budget

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  • Provides details on budget amendment

President Goodluck Jonathan has instructed the National Assembly to pass the 2013 budget amendment bill which seeks to restore about N72 billion slashed from the budget by the lawmakers.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, Jonathan explained why he was seeking the amendment to the 2013 budget.

The lower chamber of the National Assembly had on Wednesday thrown out the budget amendment bill after it received the report of its ad hoc committee set up to scrutinise the document and advise the chamber on how to handle it, in view of the objections earlier raised on the bill.

The letter which was entitled, “Re: 2013 amendment budget,” reads:  “You may recall. I had transmitted the 2013 Amendment Budget proposal to the National Assembly on 14th March 2013.

“However, following further consultations, I am forwarding a new version of the categorised 2013 Amendment-Budget proposal indicating changes proposed across the expenditure categories. The Capital Projects have now been designated as follows: “critical” is designated and these included:  ministry of works, health, power, transport, education and SURE-P.

“Some capital projects, the allocations of which were reduced and which we seek your cooperation in restoring-so as to promote national development, include the following: Ministry of Works: Abuja and Lokoja Road reduced by N4 billion; Kano-Maiduguri Road reduced by N3.5billion; Dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Section 2 reduced by N5.5 billion; Rehabilitation of Jebba Bridge reduced by N1.25 billion, rehabilitation of burnt Marine Bridge and Iddo Bridge reduced by N1 billion, special intervention fund for emergency roads and bridges washout across the country reduced by N6. 28 billion, dualisation of Obajana junction to Benin reduced by N4 billion, etc.

“Ministry of Health: MDG HIVAIDS ARV drugs allocation reduced by N14 billion; Routine immunization Vaccines reduced by N1.75 billion; Malaria Programme procurement and distribution of insecticides reduced by N0.8 billion; Payment of pledge for Orchocerciasis Recertification cut by N0. 12 billion, National Trauma Centre, Abuja, reduced by N0.1 billion, etc.

“Ministry of Power: A total of N16.3 billion was cut from power projects including the 215MW Kaduna Dual Fired Power Plant, which was reduced by N2.25 billion; 2nd Kaduna-Kano 33KV DC Lines reduced by N1.5 billion; Gombe-Yola-Jalingo 330KV SC Line reduced by N0.6B; Maiduguri 330/132KV Sub-station reduced by N0.3 billion; Kaduna-Jos 330KV DC Line reduced by N0.5 billion; Omotosho-Epe-Ajah 330KV DC Line reduced by NO. 8B, etc.

“Ministry of Transport: Construction of Abuja-Kaduna Rail was reduced by N1.4 billion; Jebba-Kano Rail Line Rehabilitation reduced by N0.5 billion; Procurement and Rehabilitation of Wagons/Locomotives reduced by N1 billion; Insurance of Locomotives reduced by N0.2 billion etc.

“Ministry of Education: Allocations to various projects were reduced to the tune of N5.64 billion, including the National Library Project which was cut by N2 billion.

“SURE-P: We all appreciate the fact that unemployment is one of our major concerns in this country today. Considering the gravity of the situation, I would like to bring up the issue of the budgetary allocation to the Community Services, Women and Youth Employment Programme under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). Against our proposal of N27 billion, the National Assembly allocated N9 billion,” the letter stated.

The president, however, said that. If the cuts are allowed, “This cut will have the adverse effect of severely undermining our capacity to create the jobs needed for our teeming unemployed youths, women and physically challenged citizens. In this regard, I crave your cooperation to restore the SURE-P Budget (a copy of its Amendment proposal is attached herewith.”

On the personnel cost, the president reminded the House that while passing the appropriation bill then, “the personnel cost was cut across all MDAs, which will make it difficult to meet Government’s obligations to its workers.”

To this end, he maintained that. “I, therefore, seek your kind understating for the restoration of the said cuts in order to maintain industrial harmony. It is my hope that this submission will help the work of the House of Representatives to consider and pass the 2013 Amendment Budget proposal expeditiously.”

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